By Andrea Swayne
While schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District were closed Tuesday due to what authorities deemed a credible threat of terrorist attacks, Capistrano Unified School District schools remained open. The threat was deemed a hoax, later the same day.
Parents of students attending CUSD schools received the following email from Superintendent Kirsten Vital Tuesday afternoon:
“Dear CUSD Community:
This morning, LAUSD closed their schools due to what they believed was a credible threat. Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD) has been in communication with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department Juvenile Services Bureau, and the Orange County Intelligence Assessment Center (OCIAC) and we have been advised that there has been no credible threat against CUSD at this time. However, as a precaution, we have been in contact with all of our school sites requesting them to inspect the campus and remind staff to be aware of their surroundings and anything unusual.
CUSD has a safety plan that is specific to each site and is reviewed every year and we have worked to build and strengthen this plan since 2012. We have a unique relationship with law enforcement that includes daily interaction and communication.
The District also works with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department in planning and security assessments of our schools and with the OCIAC. OCIAC is an integrated, multi-disciplined, information and intelligence sharing network to collect, analyze, and disseminate information on all criminal risks and safety threats to law enforcement, fire, health, private sector and public sector stakeholders in a timely manner in order to protect the residents, visitors, and critical infrastructure while ensuring the civil rights and civil liberties of all persons are recognized.
In addition, armed Sheriff’s Deputies are assigned to our campuses and we utilize the Sheriff’s Department’s School Mobile Assessment and Resource Team (SMART). SMART is used in school situations or incidents related to violence, threats, possession and/or use of weapons, unstable behaviors and suicidal actions or tendencies.
In the area of training, we conduct ongoing drills and simulated emergency exercises for our staff and this training is reviewed and modified as needed. We also train our staff to speak up and report suspicious activity they see at our school sites or offices.
Finally, we have the benefit of many parents, students, teachers, administrators and staff on our campuses and we ask that you report any unusual and suspicious activity. Please talk to your child/children to remind them that they, too, should report anything suspicious. We want everyone on our campuses to be empowered to speak up about anything that looks out of place. Please reach out to your school principals or site administration for guidance and questions. Thank you for your support.”
According to OCSD Lt. Jeff Hallock, the sheriff’s department took no specific acton related to the LAUSD incident.
“We constantly make school safety a priority and monitor for anything unusual or suspicious,” Hallock said.