Parent-Student Reunification Guide
Circumstances may occur at a school that requires parents to pick up their students in a formalized, controlled release. The process of controlled release is called “reunification” and may be necessary due to weather, a power outage, hazmat or if a crisis occurs at the school. Prescott Unified School District has procedures developed to help this process be as smooth and efficient as possible. Because a controlled release is not a typical end of school day event, a reunification may occur at a different location than the school a student attends. If this location is another school, then those students may be subject to a controlled release as well. The goal of reunification is that all students remain safe while in our care and that all students are reunited with their families.
Parents may be notified in a number of ways. The school or district may use its automated phone messages, text messages, and/or email. In some cases, students may be asked to send a text message to their parents. A reunification text message from a student may look something like this: “The school has closed, please pick me up at 3:25 at the main entrance. Bring your ID.”
If a parent or guardian is notified that a controlled release and reunification is needed, there are some expectations that parents or guardians should be aware of. First, bring identification. That will streamline things during reunification. Second, be patient. Reunification is a process that protects both the safety of the student and provides for an organized change of custody from the school to a recognized custodial parent or guardian.
What if a Parent Can’t Pick-up Their Student?
When a parent can’t immediately go to the reunification site, students will only be released to individuals previously identified as a student’s emergency contact. Otherwise, the school will hold students until parents can pick up their student.
What if the Student Drove to School?
There may be instances where a student may not be allowed to remove a vehicle from the parking lot. In this case, parents are advised to recover the student. In some circumstances, high school students may be released on their own.
How it Works
For students, the school asks that students be orderly and quiet while waiting. Students may be asked to text a message to their parents or guardians to let them know they are okay.
For parents, there are a couple of steps. If a parent is driving to the school, greater awareness of traffic and emergency vehicles is advised. Parents should park where indicated and not abandon vehicles. Parents are asked to go to the Reunification “Request Gate” area and form lines based on the first letter of their student’s last name. While in line, parents are asked to fill out a reunification card. In the case of multiple students being reunified, a separate card for each student needs to be completed.
Bring ID to Check In
During check in, identification and custody rights are confirmed. The card is then taken by a “runner” to the Student Care Area to retrieve student. Parents are then directed to the “Release Gate” area. The runner and student will meet the parent at the “Release Gate.” The parent will have ID checked again and sign the reunification card for the release of their student.
Interviews and Counseling
In some cases, parents may be advised that a law enforcement investigation is underway and may be advised that interviews are necessary. In extreme cases, parents may be pulled aside for emergency or medical information.