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Dear AUSD Staff:
We are sharing the information below not to alarm you, but to be completely transparent, and to provide facts, about a situation that occurred at one of our schools today. Our students and staff did excellently, and we are grateful for the collaboration with the Alameda Police Department today in the service of student safety. The resolution of today’s incident was an affirmation that our recurrent drills can genuinely teach students and staff how to respond to urgent situations. We will continue to refine and learn from these incidents.
This afternoon, at about 1:00 p.m., we were directed to lock Encinal High School down by the Alameda Police Department this was due to several factors.  
  • APD received a call of an alleged hostage situation on campus involving two students and a weapon (this proved not to be a credible threat and later we learned this same phone call with identical language was made to other cities).
  • Along with the call from APD, an unidentified young person failed to identify or cooperate with an EHS administrator. This later proved to be a non-issue yet in real time heightened our concerns. 
  • A hoax email threat earlier in the day was deemed to not be credible, but again amplified concerns.
The Alameda Police Department arrived within minutes and began to sweep the campus. Alameda Police officers were armed and in tactical gear. Some students saw this as the officers went door to door to ensure all students' safety.  While this occurred, we continued to make announcements that staff and students could hear to keep everyone informed of what was happening. 
District staff were also deployed to the school site to support the scene. Ruby Bridges and Paden Elementary Schools were put in “shelter in place” as a precautionary measure. District staff were also simultaneously assigned to monitor safety cameras throughout the incident, which helped assess the situation in real time and relay information to district staff and APD.  \
To help support safety, APD shut down Central Ave. between Third and Fourth streets to create an alternative point for parents to pick up their children.  
Once APD determined there was no existing threat, we began dismissing students building by building to support a calmer and more monitored dismissal. Some students were released slightly after the dismissal time. All students and staff received information on why the lockdown occurred prior to leaving campus.
We want to commend the EHS community for handling this intense situation with grace and strength. Everyone followed our safety protocols that we have taken time to practice and refine. The community was prepared, and students handled the situation appropriately. I am enormously proud of our entire community and grateful for our community partners for their operational commitment and collaboration. 
Currently, APD believes this was a “swatting” incident, which is when someone makes a false call to emergency service with the intention of generating a large police response to a specific location. 
We realize this was frightening for staff, students, and families involved, and for families across the district. We also want to assure all that we will continue to train in emergency protocols and procedures, and that our shared endeavors to support student and staff safety and to respond to potential emergencies remains a top priority. 
Pasquale Scuderi