Continental School campus on Whitehouse Canyon Road was locked down for about 15 minutes Wednesday after a physical education teacher with students outdoors noticed a group of illegal immigrants near the property about noon.

Superintendent Virginia Juettner said the lockdown and calls to the Pima County Sheriff and Border Patrol were precautionary. The teacher sent the children inside and kept an eye on the group. 

Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Dawn Barkman identified the group of men and women as illegal immigrants, and said they had not stepped inside the school fence and seemed wary once they realized they were being watched.

They headed off on foot toward the Madera Highlands neighborhood northwest of the school, Juettner said. 

“The students were never in any danger,” she said.  Still, she didn’t hesitate to invoke the school’s lockdown procedure, which staff and students practice in drills throughout the year. They are kept indoors and no one is allowed on or off campus until an all-clear is given, she said. Neither the sheriff’s officer nor Border Patrol reported catching up to the group.