San Diego

Campus Shooter Drills Vary in Frequency at School Districts Across County

The County Office of Education said every school district is required to have an active shooter safety plan in place, but not all hold drills

This story has been updated.

NBC 7 Investigates wanted to know which San Diego County school districts have an active shooter plan in place for each individual school, whether those plans involve law enforcement and staff, and how often schools are holding drills to test those plans.

The County Office of Education said every school district is required to have an active shooter safety plan in place and that those plans are available for review at each school. Some of the information in the plans is not public record because it details tactical responses.

Each school district is required by law to update their plans annually by March 1.

NBC 7 Investigates contacted every Superintendent for all 42 San Diego County school districts and more than a third (18 districts) responded. While all had plans in place for an active shooter, the number of drills each district holds vary.

Superintendent David Macleod told NBC 7 schools in the Warner District hold active shooter drills up to four times a year and usually one of those drills involves law enforcement.

Some districts hold several drills a year and reported having full-time resource officers on all of their campuses.

But not every school district holds active shooter drills.

Lakeside School District’s Superintendent Andy Johnsen said simulations are held with staff at the district’s kindergarten through 8th grade schools but not with students.

“Best practice recommendations and our own judgment is that an actual active shooter drill in our K-8 district would be potentially traumatic for students,” Johnsen wrote by email.

Lemon Grove School District Superintendent Erica Balakian said the same applies for their district’s elementary schools, though they still go over fire evacuation and lockdown procedures per state requirements.

Many school districts said they hold drills but do not label them as “active shooter” drills, rather “safety drills” that cover a variety of emergency situations.

Vallecitos School District Superintendent Maritza Koeppen told NBC 7 in addition to holding lockdown drills, the district is in the final stages of installing more fencing for greater security.

“We were granted $125,000 from the San Diego County Supervisor's Office… to make our fence a reality for our community,” Koeppen wrote.

Editor's Note: A previous version of this story stated each school's active shooter plan is not available to the public. This is incorrect. The plans are available for the public to view at each campus, only some of the information in the plan is restricted from view due to the revealing of tactical responses.

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