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School Crisis Plan Found on Disk in Iraq


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A man arrested by U.S. authorities in Iraq had a computer disk in his possession containing a public report downloaded from a U.S. Department of Education Web site on crisis planning in school districts, including San Diego Unified.

The man was described as an Iraqi national with connections to terrorism and the insurgency that is fighting U.S. forces in Iraq. Officials in San Diego said the man's intentions were unknown.

San Diego law enforcement officials said there was no indication of any terrorist plot against schools in San Diego or elsewhere in the country. They did not publicly release the information because there appeared to be no threat. The information was relayed to the San Diego FBI office last week and then to the school district Friday.

"The children are absolutely safe," said San Diego Police Chief Bill Lansdowne. "If there was a threat, we, the San Diego Police Department, would be first to notify (parents). This is not a threat."

The disk contained a document entitled "Practical Information on Crisis Planning, A Guide for Schools and Communities." The 50-plus page document, published in May 2003 by the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, is available to the public on the U.S. Department of Education's Web site, said San Diego District spokeswoman Peri Lynn Turnbull.

FBI officials visited the office of district Superintendent Alan Bersin Friday to inform him, Turnbull said. Because there was no indication that terrorists were targeting any schools, in San Diego or elsewhere, the district informed the school police department, but decided not to notify schools and parents.

"We certainly did not want to create any unnecessary panic in our community," Turnbull said. The FBI said because there was no specific threat, that was the appropriate response.

"The superintendent was alerted by the FBI that there were no direct threats to the district or any San Diego school and that by our maintaining our same level of care and concern that our schools would be safe," Turnbull said.

Dan Dzwilewski, head of the FBI office in San Diego, said there is no reason for alarm.

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I think that article clearly points out "there is no reason for alarm."

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