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Student Safety


CUSD’s priority is the safety and wellbeing of our students, staff and community, which is why we have embraced a multi-pronged approach to safety that includes investments in campus security, technology, mental health and wellness, Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), student and staff trainings, safety assessments, campus security personnel, and partnerships with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) and other local, state and national agencies. 

CUSD continually reviews our procedures, practices, and resources to help foster a safe learning environment for all students.


  • All CUSD school sites and District facilities have safety plans in place, which are updated annually and as needed throughout the year.
  • Schools regularly conduct safety drills with students and staff to prepare for a variety of potential situations. Drills include procedures for lockdowns; shelter in place; deny access, evade, and engage; and earthquake and fire procedures.
  • District schools restrict campus access during the school day through active supervision and locked doors.
  • CUSD’s Safety and Student Services Department oversees the 24/7 security operations for the District.  In addition to providing a daily security presence on school campuses, campus safety personnel form positive connections with students, fostering an environment in which students feel safe to report concerns or incidents. 
  • Most schools have implemented security cameras on campuses.
  • CUSD has established an After Hours Hotline.      


  • CUSD has a close partnership with OCSD, which works collaboratively with the District on a daily basis related to all aspects of school safety, including threat assessments, student and staff trainings, and site-specific response planning.
  • OCSD also provides School Resource Officers assigned to CUSD schools, including a School Resource Officer at every high school and middle school. School Resource Officers not only work to help provide campus safety but they also serve as a resource for students, parents and school administrators to create a positive link between the community and IPD.
  • CUSD is a participating district in the Orange County District Attorney’s office in conjunction with OCSD’s Gang Reduction and Intervention Program (GRIP).  GRIP has a unique approach with anti-gang efforts for 4th through 8th grade students.
  • As law enforcement experts, OCSD works with the Department of Homeland Security, FEMA, the FBI, Orange County Fire Authority, Orange County Intelligence Assessment Center and more on a broad range of issues, including but not limited to school safety and violent intruders.  OCSD infuses this expertise in regular trainings with CUSD.


  • In the event of an emergency, CUSD has established the Stay Connected to CUSD protocol to help direct parents to important information, news and updates.  First check your email, voicemail and text messages.  Second, visit  Third, follow CUSD on social media for real-time updates and information.  To learn more and for CUSD social media addresses, click here.
  • We also ask that parents make sure their personal contact information in the Parent Portal is up to date.
  • Also, in Parent Portal, make sure your emergency contacts are up to date, so you know who is eligible to pick your child up from school, particularly in the event of an emergency. 
  • Make sure that you have subscribed to Capo Talk District emails and your schools emails, otherwise you will not receive important emails during an emergency.  To subscribe, visit the CUSD Communications website.


  • In the event of an emergency during the school day, the following are some important points to remember:
    • The District maintains responsibility for our students. CUSD will work with first responders to safely release students to parents or authorized guardians through an established reunification process.
    • Look for information from your school or the District about where parent/student reunifications will take place. You should first check your email, voicemail and text messages. Secondarily, check and finally check CUSD social media. Visit CUSD’s Communication’s website for more information about how to stay connected to CUSD.
    • Students will only be released to persons listed on the school's emergency contact card.
    • Bring a valid picture ID, such as a driver’s license or passport.
    • Be sure your emergency contacts are up to date in Parent Portal, so that they may also be able to pick-up your child in the event of an emergency. Your emergency contacts must also have a valid photo ID.

District Emergency Operations Center (EOC)

Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD) has an EOC that complies with the Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS), and mobile EOC outfitted with all the equipment, communications, and resources of its primary EOC, sufficient to support emergency functions should any incident occur. CUSD has an extensive data base, virtual mapping and photographs of each school in the district, and has individual job descriptions for each position.


California has tried to raise public awareness of earthquake dangers by holding an annual drill called the Great California Shake Out (first conducted in 2008). But emergency services officials say they are worried that residents have lost the sense of urgency, particularly as people change residences, forget to refresh supplies and assume local, state and federal government agencies will provide for them.


All Orange County residents should take an active role to protect each other, families and friends in the event of an emergency ( Think of the national emergency management system as a pyramid with householders forming the base of the structure. The local community, state and the federal government also are part of the pyramid.


Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is composed of neighbors working as volunteers trained to assist during emergencies. After certification, members attend monthly meetings and are involved in training exercises. Local agencies have training schedule information.


After a disaster, residents will need to provide their own food, water and other supplies for at least three days. Local officials and relief workers on the scene after a disaster cannot reach everyone immediately. Help may take hours or days to arrive. Basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment, and telephones may be cut off for days, a week or longer. Also, residents may have to evacuate at a moment’s notice, taking essential belongings.


The Orange County Red Cross recommends every home should plan how to deal with all kinds of disasters. Part of a disaster plan is to have two emergency kits: one for the home and one for the car. The home kit should be stored in an easily accessible location and placed into a mobile, watertight container such as a wheeled trash barrel. The car kit should be in an easily carried pack, such as a backpack, and each kit should have an identification tag for each person.


The Red Cross suggests the following items for both the home and car kits:

  • First aid kit and essential medications.
  • Canned food and can opener.
  • At least three gallons of water per person.
  • Protective clothing, rainwear, and bedding or sleeping bags.
  • Battery-powered radio, flashlight, and extra batteries.
  • Special items for infant, elderly, or disabled family members.
  • Written instructions for how to turn off gas, electricity, and water if necessary.
  • Keep essentials, such as a flashlight and sturdy shoes, by your bedside.


To view the complete list and to learn more about how to prepare for any potential disaster, visit the Red Cross website at


Other disaster planning tips include registering for Alert OC, the mass notification system designed to keep Orange County residents and businesses informed of emergencies. Also, information about the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program can be obtained at each city hall.

Mobile EOC

In an effort to support the school site in establishing an incident command system, CUSD had developed a mobile command unit.  This vehicle can be deployed to any school site in CUSD within one half hour.  The vehicle contains:

  • Hard copies and CDS of  the school safety plans
  • Maps and floor plans of all school sites and neighboring areas
  • Generator, lights, tables, chairs,  and canopies
  • Mass casualty bags, water, bullhorns, and signs

The mobile command unit is a resource for school sites.  It is not meant to replace supplies that should be housed at the site.  The team member(s) deployed with the mobile command are experts in safety/NIMS.  This team does not take over command from the principal, but supports the principal by guiding them through the crisis and working as a liaison with law enforcement/fire.

Child Abuse Reporting

Penal Code section 11165.5:


11165.5.  As used in this article, the term "abuse or neglect in out-of-home care" includes physical injury or death inflicted upon a child by another person by other than accidental means, sexual abuse as defined in Section 11165.1, neglect as defined in Section 11165.2, unlawful corporal punishment or injury as defined in Section 11165.4, or the willful harming or injuring of a child or the endangering of the person or health of a child, as defined in Section 11165.3, where the person responsible for the child's welfare is a licensee, administrator, or employee of any facility licensed to care for children, or an administrator or employee of a public or private school or other institution or agency. "Abuse or neglect in out-of-home care" does not include an injury caused by reasonable and necessary force used by a peace officer acting within the course and scope of his or her employment as a peace officer.

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CUSD-ER (Web based Safety Plans)

In response to the school shootings at Santee High School, the Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD) developed an emergency response CD for use by school officials, law enforcement, and other emergency services, essentially, putting all of the site safety information on a CD. Modeling after the efforts of GUHSD, Capistrano Unified School District developed a similar program for all of the schools within CUSD.

The school safety website (CUSD-ER) contains vital information for site administrators, law enforcement, and the fire department.  It can be utilized in a variety of scenarios.  The school safety CD contains the following information:

  • General school information (address, etc.)
  • Administrators’ information (phone numbers/response time)
  • Aerial photographs of the campus
  • Campus maps with digital pictures of each area
  • Hazardous storage information with digital pictures
  • School communication/Alarm systems
  • Building construction information
  • Utility Shutoffs
  • Traffic and staging
  • Staff information

 CUSD-ER could be utilized by:

  • Site administrators in either an emergency or just in their day to day operations
  • District administrators at the District Emergency Operations Center or as a resource in the Mobile Command Center
  • Law Enforcement and/or Firefighters responding to a school site emergency. Aerial pictures and floor plans of each school are loaded on all of the Sheriff’s South County patrol vehicles.

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Emergency Drill BP 6114

Instruction BP 6114(a)



Please refer to the CUSD Website where the most current Board Policy is available:


Board Policy

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Emergency Management Manual

ARTICLE 5. School Safety Plans [32280 - 32289]

 CA Education Code

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The safety and well-being of our students and staff are a top priority. We want to make sure they are as comfortable as possible so that learning can continue. As a result, our schools have a number of guidelines in place for instructional planning during hot weather.


Instructional Program Modifications:

Elementary teachers may rearrange the daily schedule so that basic skills subjects are taught at the optimal time. Recess activities are limited to quiet games that require a minimum of physical activity. Physical education activities at all grade levels are limited to less strenuous activities and/or are rescheduled to a more appropriate time.


We believe the best place for our students, even in hot weather, is in the classroom where they are learning, supervised and being a part of school activities.  Modifications to our instructional plan are made to take advantage of cooler spots on schools and to minimize discomfort as much as possible. Schools know to reduce PE activities such as running, jumping, and prolonged exposure to the sun. Activities are adjusted to reduce strenuous exercises.  Parents who believe their child’s health may be compromised by excessive heat have the option of keeping students home or picking them up early.


Hot Weather Guidelines for Schools:

The Orange County Department of Education in collaboration with the Orange County Health Care Agency created the following guidelines for schools to increase student safety during periods of hot weather.


  1. Hot Weather Guidelines for Schools PDF Format
  2. Hot Weather Guidelines for Athletic Practice PDF Format
  3. Hydrated & Healthy Fact Sheet PDF Format


Another great resource is the South Coast Air Quality Management website


By clicking the “view full map” under Current Air Quality, you will see the outline for Orange County, as well as other areas.  This tool can assist in planning outdoor activities for students.


Please remind staff to exercise good judgment in monitoring their environment and determining the amount of physical activity that they will expect from their students.


Teachers/Coaches need to:

  • remind students to hydrate
  • limit physical exertion and sun exposure
  • monitor students for signs and symptom of heat/sun related issues
  • be sensitive of students with special needs and their physical limitations
  • review the above documents from OCDE regarding hot weather guidelines and precautions
  • do not direct your students to sit on the blacktop (See the chart below)

Hot Weather Guidelines

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District Safety Plan- Senate Bill 187

Each Capistrano Unified school site has a School Safety Plan which includes a comprehensive emergency management plan. Copies are available to read at each school office. Fire drills are held monthly in elementary schools; emergency drills are held each semester at secondary schools.

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Safety Resources


California Department of Education's Safe Schools Planning Web page, which includes annual update requirements, School Safety Plan Self-Monitoring Tool, and school safety issues and resources.!planning.asp


U.S. Department of Education's Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) Technical Assistance Center:

New School Year Emergency Management Planning-The  Role of  School Districts.  email  blast/rems  enews  fall/rems  enews fall.html


U.S. Department of Education's Bullying Prevention Summit video An Overview of School Districts' Federal Obligation Against Harassment video. Preventing Bullying at School


U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Violence Against Women: Guidance on Preventing Sexual Assault

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School Mobile Assessment and Resource Team (SMART)


The School Mobile Assessment and Resource Team (S.M.A.R.T.), a detail operated and supervised through the Orange County Sheriff Department, can be utilized in situations and incidents at schools related to violence, threats, possession and/or use of weapons, bizarre and unstable behaviors, and suicidal statements or tendencies.  The S.M.A.R.T. unit works in conjunction with school officials, the probation department, the district attorney’s office, and mental health agencies to help resolve safety issues and concerns involving all persons associated to schools within the jurisdiction of the Orange County Sheriff Department.


The unit provides services and resources, including threat assessments, criminal investigation, referrals for counseling, and case management where deemed appropriate.   The goal of S.M.A.R.T. is to evaluate and assess each incident individually, effectively resolve the matter through the least intrusive means available (while still maintaining safety and security to the school), and ultimately return the staff and students to their daily routine.  Contact with S.M.A.R.T. can be made at anytime.



Sheriff Dispatch: 

South                             949-770-6011

North                             714-288-6742



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