May 19, 2014

Dear Bonsall School Community,

Having always thought that the Bonsall school community was full of outstanding people, last week’s fires and evacuations made us even more aware of how exceptional this community is.   We are very grateful not only to all those who fought the fires with courage and expertise, but also to all who implemented emergency protocol with such patience and composure. We were fortunate to have made the right call in evacuating Sullivan Middle School even before the mandatory notice, and that made the subsequent precautionary evacuation of Bonsall Elementary easier. It was a hot and frustrating process, but the overall calm and orderly response to safety protocols made it an example of how to respond to such a crisis. At Bonsall West, the precautionary evacuation was made much easier with the new entry gate in place.

Some people were frustrated with having to show identification to pick up their children, but we had already become suspicious of the pattern of the fires and the possibility of the fires being intentionally set; we wanted to closely follow all emergency protocol. Closing our schools for Thursday and Friday was necessary not only for safety reasons but also operational reasons, considering how many employees were evacuated.   Along with county officials we will debrief the situation and improve our response to future emergencies. We are currently implementing an app to improve our communication and will have links to sites like SDEmergency that offers timely emergency information.

As we come to the last few weeks of the school year, and prepare to replace Bonsall Union School District with the Bonsall Unified School District on July 1, 2014, we are more focused than ever on providing “academic excellence and support for all students to be highly competitive in their chosen career path and/or college”. Adversity such as this recent fire situation will help us prepare Bonsall Unified to respond to future problems even more effectively. Thank you again for the opportunity to serve such a great school community!


Justin Cunningham, Ed.D.