A reader put up a letter from Queen Anne Elementary principal, David Elliott, that was written in light of yesterday's Seattle Pacific U shootings (QA Elementary is fairly close by as is Coe Elementary). Mr. Elliott calmly explains what they did once the event became known to this (and this happened as school had just ended for the day).
Apparently buses had left but there were many children and parents on the playground. He made the parents aware of the situation. He goes on:
After some time making sure we were aware of where all children and
adults were on our campus I had time to call our SPS Security. I was
informed that SPD had contacted our security department and informed
them there were no schools in the vicinity and no calls needed. I was,
and am, completely unsatisfied with that decision for us and for Coe,
which is situated eight or nine blocks from the SPU campus. I will
certainly follow up on this with both SPD and our SPS Security
Department. (bold mine)
We received notice that our bus that went to the Nickerson
vicinity was returning and those students were taken to a classroom with
one of our teaching staff. We had several after school clubs that went
on as normal with Shelter-in-Place procedures, as did Kids Co. We
monitored our doors and when SPS security arrived on our campus we were
informed we could end the Shelter-in-Place and proceed as normal.
want to thank office staff for their confident handling of this
situation and also thank our staff who stayed to watch doors, reassure
students, follow twitter, and help keep a calm and caring presence.
So it is a bit unclear to me if SPD told SPS there were no schools nearby (I doubt it) but rather, SPS told SPD there were no schools nearby. (I have a call in to confirm.) Either way, there ARE schools nearby, at the time of the shooting there was a concern about a second shooter on the loose and hey, there were kids and parents out in on a playground. As well one bus came back and those students had to be protected.
I really appreciate Principal Elliott's pro-active approach in those first few minutes AND that he plans to follow up.
The other issue is one just as concerning at one of our comprehensive high schools.
There was a fight in a parking lot by a gym in mid-May. A vice-principal and security officer went to investigate. The fight was not there but at a nearby community building. The vice-president told the two students fighting to stop and they did and the crowd started to disperse.
However, another student (C) attacked one of the students who had originally been fighting and knocked that student to the ground. The vice-principal took the original student who had been fighting to the office. The staff at the community building was upset over the incident and asked if police should be called. The security officer said no, the fight was over.
The security officer continued to clear the area but several students - one of them the second attacker (C) - argued harshly with the officer. Student C called the security officer the "n" word and made threats against him. The security officer requested the school office to call the police who came and "took control of the situation." (No follow-up on what the police did so I don't know.)
Apparently this incident did not make it into the school's PowerSchool system so for student C, there was no record about his behavior towards the security officer. (The security officer wrote his own report.)
A week later, Student C came to a security officer at school (different person) saying he probably would not be graduating. When the officer asked why, the Student C said he had held a knife to another student's throat earlier that day. Student C said another student (not the one he threatened) heard about the knife and Security had checked his backpack and confiscated the knife. It was an 11 inch knife. (I have seen the photo - it is an extremely frightening looking knife.)
Security asked if Student C if he had been "joking" with the other student but the Student C said no.
For whatever reason (perhaps owing partly because the first incident involving him was never recorded), for Student C that meant just two days suspension.
This student brought a large knife to school, admitted pulling it on another student to a security officer, the knife was found in his backpack and removed and yet he got just two days suspension AND was allowed back at the same school.
Only the intervention of the union, asking the school to consider the heightened factors, got the student removed and placed elsewhere (alternative site, not another comprehensive). The student is supposed to graduate with his class next week but it is unclear if that will happen.
Here's what it says at the district's website about weapons:
Seattle Public Schools has a no tolerance policy towards weapons on its campuses and at District-sponsored activities.
I asked the district a few clarifying questions but they said they cannot answer any of them but yes, they have a zero tolerance policy.
I just don't get it. I don't know why the district does not intervene on an issue like this - I thought pulling a knife on anyone at school would mean explusion (or, at least, long-term suspension).
What if, coming off just two days suspension, that student decided to bring another knife to school and this time, use it on staff or other students? Once again, the district sets itself up for a lawsuit.
Beyond troubling in both cases.