The Garland Independent School District is committed to providing a safe environment for students, staff and visitors. We work closely with safety officials – police, fire, emergency medical services and public health – in order to ensure our schools are well prepared for an emergency. We have developed a comprehensive plan that covers a wide variety of emergencies that serves as a guide to help staff and our public safety partners respond swiftly should a crisis occur in our schools.

Parent Emergency Guide

View a printable summary of our safety plans and tips for parents during emergencies:

What should I do in a school emergency?

Should a school emergency occur, parents can get important information and directions by using the Garland ISD website and:

Every parent who has a child attending Garland schools is automatically signed up to receive email messages through Skyward; however, it is up to you to update any changes regarding email, phone numbers, or additional emergency contacts within the Skyward Family Access system.

On this page

    What parents should do to prepare for a school emergency

    • Provide accurate emergency contact information to your child’s school and notify the school if your emergency contact information changes. Accurately identifying who is authorized to pick up your child if there is a school or community emergency is essential to your school’s emergency response.
    • Never open any door to your child’s school campus for someone outside the school to enter the building, even if that person is known to you (including a teacher). Access to our schools is strictly enforced, and those who do not have access to the building must enter through the front entrance and follow visitor access procedures.
    • Speak with your child about potential emergency situations at school. Emphasize the importance of listening and following directions during all emergency drills, including fire, evacuation, secure and lockdown drills. Also, encourage your child to report strange, suspicious or unusual activity to a teacher, administrator, Garland ISD staff member or School Resource Officer.

    What to do during a school emergency

    • If there is an emergency at one of the Garland ISD schools, wait for official instructions that will be communicated using the Garland ISD website, Twitter and/or Facebook. This message will inform you of what has happened and what you should do (if anything).
    • Do not call the school. Phone lines and staff are needed for emergency response efforts.
    • Do not go to the school unless instructed to do so. During emergency situations, school parking lots may be designated evacuation locations, or they may be within the emergency area and unsafe for anyone except first responders. Additionally, roads clogged by traffic may prevent emergency vehicles from getting to an emergency.
    • Students will be kept in school, at a neighboring school, or other shelter until the end of the school day if possible. If you are asked to pick up your child, the reunification site and the time when you can meet your child will be announced by school officials using the Garland ISD website, Skyward, Twitter and/or Facebook.
    • When you go to the reunification site, bring a picture ID (e.g., driver’s license, passport, etc.) and check in with school officials.
    • Students will be released to parents or guardians who have acceptable identification and who are named on the student emergency information card.
    • If a legal guardian cannot pick up a child, the child will remain at the reunification site.

    Safety terms and procedures

    In the event of an emergency at your child’s school, it is important to know these terms from the Standard Response Protocol.


    Hold IconThe HOLD command is called to clear hallways, even during class changes. The public announcement for HOLD is: “Hold in your room or area. Clear the Halls.” The HOLD command may occur to allow emergency medical services and first responders a clear path while responding to a medical emergency and to prevent students and staff from unnecessary exposure to the incident.


    Lockout IconThe SECURE command is called when there is a threat or hazard outside of the school building. The public announcement for SECURE is “Secure! Get Inside. Lock Outside Doors. No One In – No One Out.” The SECURE command may occur during violence, criminal activity in the immediate neighborhood, or a dangerous animal on the playground. The SECURE command uses the security of the physical facility as protection.


    Lockdown iconThe LOCKDOWN command is called when there is a threat or hazard inside the school building. The public announcement for LOCKDOWN is: “Lockdown! Locks, Lights, Out of Sight!” The LOCKDOWN announcement may be made in the event of a parental custody dispute, school intruder, or active shooter situation. A LOCKDOWN uses classroom security to protect students and staff from threats. A LOCKDOWN is released by the police.


    Evacuate iconThe EVACUATE command is called when students need to be moved from one location to another. The Evacuate protocols demand students and staff move in an orderly fashion to a pre-determined evacuation assembly point. Fire drills are considered evacuation drills. The public announcement for evacuation is: “Evacuate! To a Location.” For instance, “Evacuate! To the flagpole. Evacuate! To the flag pole.” Students will remain at the evacuation location until the “All Clear” command is given by administrators, fire department officials, School Resource Officers or security.


    Shelter icon The SHELTER command is called when the need for personal protection is necessary. Training also includes spontaneous events such as tornadoes, earthquakes or hazmat. The public announcement for shelter includes the hazard and the safety strategy. The public addresses are: “Shelter for Severe Weather! Drop, Cover and Hold” (If time permits move to predetermined shelter locations) and “Shelter for Hazmat.” Students and staff are held in the building; windows and doors are closed; and all ventilation systems are shut off. Limited movement is allowed. Shelter-in-place is most effective during emergencies involving hazardous materials that produce toxic vapors outside of the facility.

    Reunification: How can I be reunited with my child?

    Parents/guardians will be directed by school or public safety officials via the district website, Skyward, Twitter and/or Facebook to their child’s specific location. Students will be released ONLY to parents/guardians who are documented as emergency contacts and who present a picture ID such as a driver’s license, military ID or passport. The reunification process can be timeconsuming, so parents are urged to be patient.

    Following an emergency

    1. Listen to and acknowledge your child’s concerns and tap into GISD’s Responsive Services Counseling.
    2. Provide reassurance that your child is safe and create a calm home environment using GISD Social and Emotional Learning resources.
    3. Seek help from a mental health professional or request counseling services if concerns persist.

    Our district's security principles

    1. Teach with classroom doors closed and locked. Restricted access saves lives.
    2. Positively engage all visitors. Any visitors not wearing identification (ID) are taken to the front office for assistance.
    3. Sound the alarm. If you see something, say or do something.
    4. Respond to the greater threat. For example, stay in lockdown when a fire alarm sounds unless you see smoke or fire.

    If you see something, say or do something

    The two most successful means in averting school violence are (1) positive adult relationships with students, and (2) students and parents who saw something amiss and promptly reported it.

    Students and parents in GISD are urged to report anything suspicious to our 24-hour anonymous tip line, Anonymous Alerts. Download the app and enter the activation code “garlandisd”.

    All tips are taken seriously and investigated immediately – no matter the time of day. GISD also has a manned security dispatch center that takes emergency calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The GISD Dispatch phone number is 972-494-8911.