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Team 10: School lockdowns... are San Diego County's districts keeping track?

Posted: 1:25 PM, Nov 03, 2016
Updated: 2016-11-03 17:16:15-04

SAN DIEGO - The safety of students on campus is a top priority for school districts, but Team 10 wanted to know how often that safety was in jeopardy and the number of times schools were forced to enter a lockdown situation.

In July 2016, Team 10 filed Public Records Requests with many of the districts in San Diego County asking for "the number of times each school in the district went into lockdown, ordered by the school and/or law enforcement in the last five academic school and if available, the reason why they went into lockdown."

The information Team 10 received in response shows that while some schools keep detailed records of every lockdown event, others don't keep any information at all.

Team 10 also found that in the past five academic years, some schools have not had to initiate a lockdown.

Listed below is a compilation of data provided by multiple San Diego County school districts. Team 10 is still waiting on information from the county's largest district, the San Diego Unified School District.


Borrego Springs Unified School District
No records kept on number of lockdowns; district keeps records of annual training.


Cajon Valley Union School District
District officials said no records on lockdowns were kept before the 2015-16 academic year. The data listed below does not include secure campus initiation or scheduled lockdown drills.

  • 2015-16 school year (Hillsdale Middle School): School named in received phone threat
  • 2015-16 school year (Montgomery Middle School): 1. School named in received phone threat; 2. Nearby police activity looking for suspect at large
  • 2015-16 school year (Sevick School): Nearby police activity looking for suspect at large
  • 2015-16 school year (Community Day School): School named in received phone threat

Carlsbad Unified School District
Two lockdowns in past five academic school years (2011-2016):

  • Jan. 5, 2015 (Carlsbad High School): Anonymous threat made by a student on social media
  • Nov. 2, 2015 (Calavera Hills Middle School): A student reported that an unidentified motorist in the parking lot spoke to him/her through the fence, and stated that there was a bomb on campus

Chula Vista Elementary School District
District officials told Team 10: "We do not have documents that are responsive to your request."


Dehesa School District
District officials told Team 10: "Dehesa is a one school district. Thankfully we have not been on lock down (other than when we have a practice drill) at all in the last 5 years …"


Del Mar Union School District
District officials told Team 10: "In response to your CPRA request below, please know that no school in Del Mar has ever been on lockdown."


Escondido Union High School District
Seven instances, over last three years, where schools were locked down by the Escondido Police Department (EPD).

  • March 7, 2013 (Orange Glen High School): EPD put school on lockdown when a citizen riding the city bus (that was stopped in front of the school) was suspected of having a knife. The citizen had a lighter, and not a knife, according to police.
  • May 9, 2013 (Escondido High School): EPD put school on lockdown when a citizen reported that someone was observed on their field and it was believed he was in possession of a gun. Report turned out to be false.
  • Sept. 23, 2013 (Escondido High School): EPD ordered lockdown due to a truant EHS student being stabbed near campus (lockdown lasted 15 minutes).
  • May 10, 2016 (Escondido High School): EPD ordered lockdown due to a person driving in the area reported to have a firearm (lockdown lasted 20 Minutes).
  • No date given (Valley High School): EPD put school on lockdown when a non-student was observed outside of the campus with a gun. The former student had recently been in an altercation with a current student. The former student was apprehended by EPD.
  • No date given (Valley High School): EPD put school on lockdown when a marshal was serving a warrant to a citizen in the neighborhood adjacent to the school and that person ran.
  • No date given (Valley High School): EPD put school on lockdown when they were in pursuit of a suspect in the neighborhood adjacent to the school.

Fallbrook Union High School District
District officials said Fallbrook High School has had three lockdowns ordered by the school or law enforcement in the last five years.

  • Sept. 15, 2011: Report of a student with a weapon
  • May 15, 2012: Report of a student with a weapon
  • Feb. 12, 2014: Criminal investigation in a nearby gated community

Grossmont Union High School District
Information provided by the district, covering the past 5 academic years.

2011-12 school year

  • Sept. 19, 2011 (Santana High School): Secure campus declared due to high speed chase in community
  • Nov. 30, 2011 (Granite Hills High School): Secure campus declared due to possible weapon on campus
  • Feb. 3, 2012 (Santana High School): Secure campus declared due to possible weapon on campus
  • Feb. 13, 2012 (Chaparral High School): Secure campus declared, reason unknown
  • May 7, 2012 (El Capitan High School): Secure campus declared due to police activity off campus

2012-13 school year

  • Sept. 17, 2012 (Grossmont High School): Secure campus declared due to police activity in the area
  • Sept. 25, 2012 (El Capitan High School): Lockdown declared due to shooting in community
  • Oct. 5, 2012 (Granite Hills High School): Secure campus declared due to police activity in the area
  • Oct. 26, 2012 (Monte Vista High School): Lockdown declared due to inoperable grenade found on campus
  • Dec. 11, 2012 (El Cajon Valley High School): Secure campus declared due to armed person in community
  • April 26, 2013 (Chaparral High School): Secure campus declared due to possible weapon on campus
  • May 21, 2013 (Monte Vista High School): Lockdown declared due to burglary in area of school
  • May 24, 2013 (El Cajon Valley High School): Secure campus declared due to weapon in area of school

2013-14 school year

  • Oct. 7, 2013 (Granite Hills High School): Secure campus declared due to burglary in the area
  • Jan. 27, 2014 (Chaparral HS/Merit Academy): Secure campus declared due to possible weapon on campus
  • Feb. 19, 2014 (El Cajon Valley High School): Secure campus declared due to possible weapon on campus
  • Mar. 7, 2014 (Merit Academy): Secure campus declared due to possible weapon on campus

2014-15 school year

  • Oct. 21, 2014 (El Cajon Valley High School): Secure campus declared due to police activity in the area
  • Nov. 19, 2014 (Monte Vista High School): Lockdown declared due to fight on campus
  • Dec. 11, 2014 (Grossmont High School): Secure campus declared due to police activity in the area
  • Dec. 16, 2014 (Grossmont High School): Lockdown declared due to shooting in the area
  • Dec. 18, 2014 (Grossmont High School): Secure campus declared due to possible weapon on campus
  • Jan. 6, 2015 (Chaparral HS/Merit Academy): Secure campus declared due to unruly student on campus
  • Jan. 6, 2015 (Merit Academy): Secure campus declared due to police activity in the area
  • Jan. 12, 2015 (Chaparral HS/Merit Academy): Lockdown declared due to fight on campus
  • Feb. 26, 2015 (El Cajon Valley High School): Secure campus declared due to parolee at large in the area
  • Mar. 2, 2015 (El Cajon Valley High School): Secure campus declared due to person with weapon in the community
  • Mar. 5, 2015 (El Capitan High School): Secure campus declared due to police activity in the area
  • Mar. 6, 2015 (Monte Vista High School): Lockdown declared due to weapon on campus
  • May 27, 2015 (West Hills High School): Lockdown declared due to bomb threat

2015-16 school year

  • Sept. 9, 2015 (El Cajon Valley High School): Secure campus declared due to weapon in the community
  • April 7, 2016 (Monte Vista High School): Lockdown declared due to possible suicidal student on campus

Solana Beach School District
District officials said: "The Solana Beach School District does not maintain tracking data on lockdown incidents."


Sweetwater Union High School District
The district told Team 10 lockdown/heightened security information was not kept prior to the 2014-15 school year. Sweetwater District's information is broken down by the type of response -- Lockdown or Heightened Security Response.

Lockdowns (2014-15 school year)

  • 2014 (National City Adult School): While pursuing a suspect brandishing a weapon near campus, the National City Police Department initiated a brief lockdown (less than 10 minutes).
  • 2014 (Castle Park High School): The school's assistant principal ordered a lockdown in response to a telephonic bomb threat. Chula Vista Police Department officers arrived and swept the school for out of place or suspicious objects finding nothing and deeming the threat a hoax. Lockdown lasted about 45 minutes.
  • 2015 (Mar Vista High School): A San Diego Sheriff Student Resources Officer rapidly pursued and restrained a non-compliant and aggressive trespasser. The Student Resources Officer lost radio communications with the Imperial Beach Sheriff Department during the foot pursuit, so additional Sheriffs arrived to assist with weapons drawn. They briefly ordered the school into lockdown (less than 10 minutes).
  • 2015 (Granger Junior High): An officer-involved shooting occurred within blocks of the school after a man resisted arrest and then attempted to hit the on-foot officer with a car. The school was placed into lockdown (about 30 minutes) while the National City Police Department pursued and searched for the wounded, fleeing suspect in surrounding neighborhoods.

Heightened Security Responses (2014-15 school year)

  • 2014 (Eastlake High School): A student's social media post circulated over the weekend with a photo of the student pictured with a gun and comment about "going school hunting." It caused significant concern in the community and attracted local media attention. The Chula Vista Police Department and school officials were unable to locate the student all weekend. At the beginning of the school day Monday, Heightened Security was put in place. Monday morning, the Chula Vista Police Department located and interviewed student in conjunction with a home visit. The threat was deemed non-substantive. The response lasted 2 hours.
  • 2014 (Rancho Del Rey Middle, Bonita Vista Middle and Bonita Vista High schools): In response to an Ebola scare at Southwestern College (SWC), three surrounding schools were placed into Heightened Security to restrict access while the raw information was assessed. A SWC student had made false claims about being sick and exposed to Ebola in order to excuse a series of absences. SWC responded with both evacuation and quarantines. The immediate social media and media response helped increased community anxiety. The response lasted 1.5- 2 hours.
  • 2014 Sweetwater High School: As the school was about to begin, a parent called to report a social media posting regarding a student reportedly bringing a gun to school. The school was discreetly placed in Heighted Security (without an overt PA announcement) while the National City Police Department and school officials investigated and deemed the claim a false rumor. The response lasted less than 30 minutes.
  • 2014 (Chula Vista Middle School): A printed bomb threat was discovered at the end of the school day. Afterschool programs continued behind locked doors while the Chula Vista Police Department conducted bomb sweeps. The response lasted an hour.
  • 2015 (Bonita Vista High and Bonita Vista Middle schools): Chula Vista Police Department pursuit of bank robbery suspects in vicinity. The response lasted an hour.
  • 2015 (Bonita Vista High School): Part of Chula Vista Police Department effort in conjunction with a search of two students for suspected weapons. Heightened Security was discreetly initiated to move students on a 2-7 schedule away from the scene. No weapons found. The response lasted 15 minutes.
  • 2015 (San Ysidro High School): In response to an over a weeklong string of telephonic bomb threat hoaxes, SYH went into Heightened Security as a standard response with daily San Diego Police Department sweeps and presence. The response lasted 1-4 hours over 6 days.

Lockdowns due to gun-related threats (2015-16 school year)

  • 2015 (Southwest High School): School placed into lockdown at 5:00pm following JV football game. A youth not enrolled at SUHSD skateboarded onto campus, brandished a pistol and made a verbal threat to a 9th grade SOH student. The suspect fled and discarded weapon. Later interviewed by the San Diego Police Department who determined pistol was an Airsoft replica. The lockdown lasted less than 15 minutes.
  • 2015 (Hilltop High School): School was briefly placed into lockdown while the Chula Vista Police Department and San Diego Sheriff officers and deputies conducted a foot pursuit of the armed suspect ending in arrest. The suspect very briefly ran into the far corner of athletic playing fields. The armed suspect made no direct threats against the school. The lockdown lasted less than 15 minutes.
  • 2016 (Sweetwater High School): The after-school program went into lockdown in response to reports of a pistol brandished on campus. The suspect's identifying information was rapidly sent to the National City Police Department. Two suspects were arrested in a nearby house, and two pistols were recovered. Multiple witnesses cooperated with school officials and the police. The lockdown lasted 40 minutes.

Heightened Security Responses due to gun-related threats (2015-16 school year)

  • 2015 (Otay Ranch High School): In response to Chula Vista Police Department pursuit of two suspects in nearby neighborhood, one potentially armed. The response lasted an hour.
  • 2015 (Southwest High): The morning following the afterschool lockdown event, the school was in a Heightened Security for the first two periods while the investigation was ongoing. The response lasted two hours.
  • 2015 (San Ysidro High School): School placed into Heightened Security due to telephonic bomb threat hoax. San Diego Police Department sweep and continued presence as per previous threats. The response lasted two hours.
  • 2015 (San Ysidro High School): As part of a countywide spate of bomb threats, school placed into Heightened Security due to telephonic bomb threat hoax. San Diego Police Department conducted a sweep and maintained a continued presence as per previous threats. Parents were assured that the situation was being calmly and professionally managed. These messages were coordinated between SUHSD and San Diego Police Department PAO's. The response lasted four hours.
  • 2016 (San Ysidro High School): In response to a telephonic bomb threat, the school was placed into Heightened Security while the San Diego Police Department arrived and searched the campus. An all clear was sent about 50 minutes into Heightened Security, but the San Diego Police Department remained on campus. The response lasted less than an hour.