Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Shelter-in-Place Today at SPS Schools

There was an incident at Lincoln where a 20-year Special Ed student was thought to have a knife.  That triggered a shelter-in-place for about 15 minutes.  It turns out it was a plastic toy knife.  SPD responded and spoke to the student.

SPD were called to the Rainier Beach area around 2:30 pm with a call of shots fired in the air by a guy who took off on foot.  This was at 50 Ave S and South Rose.  SPS put Dunlap, RBHS, South Shore Pk-8, Bailey Gatzert and South Lake on shelter-in-place while police checked out the scene.  (Bailey Gatzert was on shelter-in-place simply because an SPD officer happened to be visiting the school, heard the call and asked for it to be enacted until he/she had more info.)  

This shelter-in-place was about 20 minutes and was not associated with any SPS student or staff member. 


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Thanks for that information.

The message from the school carefully avoiding mentioning it was a 20 year old. I'm sorry, but that is an adult. Regardless of mental age - capable of inflicting injuries as would an adult. All I can say in lucky he (she?) didn't legally own a gun and take that to Lincoln.

What is the program housed at Lincoln that contains 20 year old special ed students?

Last year we were told there was a "medically fragile" program (that's what we were told, I never saw any official description of it) for 18-21 yr olds - is that what this is? Initally some folks were a bit uneasy about the age of the students co-locating in the building but were sympathetic to the needs of these young people suffering horrible high needs medical problems and reassured that they posed no possible threat to the elementary kids at all. I'm not so sure folks would feel equally comfortable if this was, in fact, a program for 18-21 yr olds with behavioral issues rather than medical ones.

Why the secrecy, anyway? Anyone would think the district doesn't want APP or Licton Springs parents to know about it.

No Secrecy

Anonymous said...

No Secrecy, seriously?

enough discrimination

Anonymous said...

@ enough already
Seriously, what?? I didn't say anything wrong.
I'm not ashamed to admit I would think twice about adults (thats what 20 yr olds are) with behavioral problems being in the same building as my first grader. (Thats not implying this is the case with the student or program here- no information on that). I bet lots of parents would feel the same. Not many other elementary schools also have older teens attending the same school.
I can't think what else has got you riled up, so sorry if that offends you. You must have unwavering trust in the ability of SPS to protect students in their care.
But anyway - the school/SPS should be upfront about this program, their needs/issues, what services are being provided. These sort of rumors and unfounded worries flourish when people are kept in the dark and would most likely disappear if they shed some light on the situation.

No secrecy

Anonymous said...

No Secrecy (aka 2E)

Would you prefer a directory listing containing all special needs students sorted by risk to harm others?

As I told you for every one act of violence by a special needs student there are 1000 acts of violence by a non special needs student.

This was not an act of violence..period!

BTW there are many students who attend public school after the age of 18 up to age 21 and most are not special needs students.

To sum it up, your student is 1000 times more likely to be assaulted by a non special needs student than a special needs student and there are 1000s of gen ed students attending SPS over the age of 18 which makes them legally adults.

enough discrimination

Anonymous said...

This post said the police "talked" to the student but we understood that the student was in distress and agitated and had to be sedated.

Bystander parent

Anonymous said...

"The student was in distress and agitated"

Just like you would be for one, getting in trouble and two, having the police show up.

So now someone is sharing confidential medical treatment information at Lincoln. What's next, the ADULT student's name?

I don't have any experience with EBD students and this could be a situation involving EBD, but I'm guessing having the cops show-up isn't good for deescalation.

enough discrimination

Anonymous said...

If police were called when my gen ed highschooler pulled her plastic knife out of her lunch bag, she would be hysterical. What do you expect?

-say what?

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mirmac1 said...

I'm trying to think of how many videos I've seen on Huffingtonpost or youtube of criminal, disabled students wielding plastic knifes, versus drunken frat bros. throwing bottles and glorifying rape, or vicious punks beating up innocents. Oh, right, those kids are normal and won't harm your precious child.

I'm not saying you're unfairly casting "special" parents as overwrought or bigots. I'm saying pull your head out.

Anonymous said...

We don't know what the circumstances were. We do know that Special Ed students are disproportionately harshly disciplined.

I can not imagine any situation where a plastic knife warrants a call to police. I cannot imagine a student not being completely freaked out when confronted by police over a plastic knife.

My kid would certainly be hysterical in a situation like that. But my gen ed daughter probably doesn't have to worry about police being called when she has a plastic knife.

-say what?

Anonymous said...

I don't get the response here. No one is saying all special Ed students are prone to violence or that violent incidents are more commonly associated with special Ed students compared to general Ed students. Calm down people. No one is dissing special Ed students. We are curious and concerned and want more information about one scenario. The only reason special Ed is mentioned is because the incident was reported to involve a special Ed student (and that was the only info given, not the school, not the grade) and later it was reported that it was a 20 year old student. No one wants listings sorted by risk. No one is condoning violent or abusive behavior by "normal" kids. No one is saying brandishing a plastic knife warrants police being called. No one is giving out confidential medical information. People are just trying to figure out what happened because there fids were stuck on buses unable to unload or locked in classrooms. Apparently police and ambulance turned up. So maybe it was just a minor thing and could have been de escalated by the staff. But it wasn't and police were called and shelter in place instituted and that seems like a BFD to most of us. Note this did not involve Lincoln elementary staff - it was not a Lincoln student- the police etc were called by the mystery program staff ( presumably that are experienced and familiar with their students, one would hope). And the whole reason we are talking about this is the mystery program. If someone said a Lincoln or a Licton springs kid freaked out with a plastic knife, no one would be talking about whether they were special needs or whatever. We'd be over it by now. The reason I'm still talking about it is because we don't know anything to about why there are 20 year olds ( be they spec Ed, medically fragile, or totally normal) sharing the same building as elementary aged kids. The district is quite open about the presence of Licton springs and Lincoln in the building but seems to hide the fact there is another population/program there. Why can I not find out who else is in the building with my kids? Is it a school for kids in a witness protection program (joke)?! That is the issue, this incident has just drawn attention to it.

This is not about APP or gen Ed. parents discriminating against spec Ed students (the districts handling of sped if a different matter entirely and I understand your frustrations there) no matter how hard you try to twist it.

No secrecy

Anonymous said...

SPS isn't tracking data relating to discipline incidents regarding to students with disabilities. So in addition to pandering to public expectations/misunderstandings of our kids as walking powder kegs, SPS isn't even bothering to track where schools are responding disproportionately.

This IS irresponsible.


Anonymous said...

>>I'm not ashamed to admit I would think twice about adults (thats what 20 yr olds are) with behavioral problems being in the same building as my first grader.

Well No Secrecy, since you're not ashamed to admit it... let's remember, you have a CHOICE to send your child to school with a 20 yo marauding disabled student. If you don't want your kid in an exclusive program, stay in your neighborhood school. They are all able to serve your sweet genius there at home. Especially now that 15% or so of the population has reached your rarified level. Read the policy. Unfortunately for the marauding disabled student with a plastic dinner knife, he gets no choice in the service provided him. And no, the district refuses to serve him in his neighborhood school. If they did bother to serve him locally, believe me, he'd gladly stay there instead of being served with your genius first grader hoping for an exclusive education free of any riff raff - disabled, minority, or anything else, for his entire education K-12!

Eddie Speddie

Anonymous said...

Melissa, Melissa please help those Sped parents are not following the pecking order and they are being mean. Help us bigots

Mary Griffin said...

No secrecy,

Here is my gentle rant:

I know you are trying to be diplomatic, but frankly, you are both succeeding and failing by fits and turns.

Here's one hint for future discourse: there are no "normal" students. Conversely, there are no "abnormal" students. There are students.

Some students receive special education services. These students are also students.

Students are also persons; person first language would say that you identify the person or student first and then use the modifier of "with disabilities."

Disabilities are part of the human condition.

Students with disabilities should be located in every school in every program.

Students with disabilities should not be identified as such by the district, as many of us have pointed out, it's very problematic to identify students by the services they receive. I will take this opportunity to bring this up with the district separately.

End of Gentle Rant

Regarding program location, you have every right to know what programs are located in the building in which your child goes to school. I agree with you that having students of different age levels at a school can be problematic. For this reason, I suggest you contact the district tomorrow and find out what schools/programs and age levels are in your child's school. But when you do this, please do not use language implying something stigmatizing about any of the programs. After all, they are all just students and they are there trying to do what they and society feels is the best thing for them: learn.

Anonymous said...

Things are getting nasty here.

Who cares about the plastic knife. I'm not the one who called the cops on that. I'm not the arbiter of whether a plastic knife is a threat.

I chose for my kid to be served at Lincoln, not because its free of any kids with behavioral issues or disabilities (because it isn't) but because it suits the kid best.

Would I still chose it if I was informed there were, as you say "marauding knife wielding 20 yr olds in the building"? Well, maybe I would, maybe I wouldn't take the risk. But the thing is, I would have to be informed. I have not been. I do know anything about who it other than hearsay on this blog and the robocall from the school.

So you are correct, I am fortunate to have a choice, but in order to make choice I need accurate information.

Since you all know so much - tell me about the spec ed services SPS provides to students older than high school age? Seriously, I would like to know. What sort of special needs do they tend to have? How old are they? How are they supervised?
That is the sort of information I would be looking at.

This is not the same as having an elementary aged special needs population at an elementary school.

Im with no secrecy

mirmac1 said...

It's easy. It's called transition services for 18-21. Google it.

Anonymous said...

@ MaryG

I've often read your comments and appreciate your action with regard to SPEd in the district. I appreciate my wording is clumsy and not PC. I did use quotes for normal as in air quotes - other folks here are implying the so called normal kids get away with far worse and that is probably true. But please know, though my sentiment is not phrased in the right way, my heart is in the right place (I think). I support Sped parents in their struggles with the district to get the services they are entitled to. And I understand they are all kids first and foremost - even the 20 yr old is someone's kid and they want the best education for him/her they can get. But I also want to be reassured that my kid is safe and when an incident like this arises, involving a program that I didn't even know was at the school (and still don't know anything about) it makes me wonder what is going on.

No Secret

Anonymous said...

I guess you don't read or want to read what has been said. THERE ARE 1000s OF ADULT STUDENTS ATTENDING SPS. Why you think a 20 year old would be anymore of a threat than a 13 year old?

Do you think all the K-8 should be shuttered?
Actually there are 100s of gen ed students who have spent time in juvenile detention, do you need a list of those students.

I don't care what you say, I see what who believe. Really you don't have a RIGHT to know anything, why would you think you do.

enough discrimination

Anonymous said...

Just so it's clear-

statistically it's special needs students who are injured or bullied by non disabled students not the other way around.

Only 10 U.S. studies have been conducted on the connection between bullying and developmental disabilities but all of these studies found that children with disabilities were two to three times more likely to be bullied than their nondisabled peers. One study shows that 60 percent of students with disabilities report being bullied regularly compared with 25 percent of all students.

I can only find a handful of cases where a special needs child attacked a non special needs student and it appears there were mitigating circumstances(being picked on). There many more cases of teachers being inured when trying to restrain a EBD student again lack of training was a major contributor.

enough discrimination

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

reposted since didn't give name
Anonymous Anonymous said...
enough discrimination,

For one thing, the average 20 year old adult is much larger than the average 13 year old child.

Parents of Licton Springs kindergarten students chose to send their chikdren to a K-8 school. Parents of APP@Lincoln first graders did not. None of them enrolled their children in school this year knowing their would be (non-staff) adults in the building.

If I were a Licton Springs parent, I'd be concerned to hear this news today. I'd bet you would too. I'd want to know why the police were called so I could decide if this is a safe situation for my child. It would not make a difference to me if the involved student was receiving special education services.

I'd want more info for sure if an Interagency student were involved. In 2012, the Seattle Times wrote this: Called the Interagency Academy, its dozen locations function as a high school for some 500 of the city's toughest to teach — students who have been jailed or expelled, homeless or pregnant, gang-involved or learning disabled. I would not want my six year old in a position to interact with students who've been jailed or gang-involved.

Please post a link to the research showing that the 14.5% of SPS students receiving special education services are the perpetrators of only .0999% of the violent acts in our schools.


Anonymous said...

Here is a link to the article in the Seattle Times about the Interagency school.
Ex-Linoln mom

Anonymous said...

Dear No Secrecy,
It is wrong to use the adjective
"horrible" to describe a person's special need. If being around such students produces feelings of horror in you, you need to look very hard in a mirror.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I only know what was reported to me by the district.

I can say that the district has a zero tolerance policy (unless something changed) for any kind of item that looks like a weapon, even a toy. So yes, if your gen ed daughter pulled it out, the teacher would be required to report it.

"These sort of rumors and unfounded worries flourish when people are kept in the dark and would most likely disappear if they shed some light on the situation."

What rumors and worries? Look, Charlie and I don't have a lock on finding out info. You can ask. Pick up the phone and call and ask. Ask your Board member to find out.

Also don't say you are just curious and then talk about "rumors and worries?"

I am baffled by this back and forth here. I am baffled by the snide remarks and unpleasant statements.

I don't get this outright hatred of APP but it is not welcome here.

What I wrote (as opposed to others) is straight from the district.

Either some people are on a very short leash or there are some here trying to start a fight. Either way I can stop it by not allowing comments.

Calm down and be civil - otherwise, there's the door.

Anonymous said...

@ mirmac - thanks for that, I googled it and found some info on transition services for 18-21yrold , medically fragile 18-21yrolds and the locations for 2013-14 - which did not include Lincoln. But thanks for the info about the scope of services provided

@enough already - Yes, 13yr olds can be as much of a threat as 20 yrolds these days.
What do you define adult? Yes lots are > 16 yrs but probably not that many pushing 20- 21. And I bet almost all are at schools with similar age-groups.
No don't think K-8s should be shuttered. They are option schools so folks get to choose. Everyone knows there is a K-8 that is sharing the lincoln site.
Yes, I realize some SPS students have been in juvenile detention but it is unlikely that many of those students, if any, are now attending elementary schools or K-8s
I am not expecting information about individual students, but you are wrong - SPS is a public institution and I do have a right to know, as does any Seattle taxpayer, basic information about it's programs, services, populations served and locations.
I don't doubt your figures but that is not the point here

@ will
well, you really do think the worst of people don't you.
when i said "horrible high needs medical problems"- I mean horrible for the person having to deal with them (i.e as in its horrible to have to have multiple surgeries, or horrible to not be able to control limb movements or have pain etc). I did not mean its horrible for other people to see or be around. Why would you even think that? Transference, maybe?

You guys play too rough - I'm gonna pack up my toys and go home now!

No secrecy

Anonymous said...

Melissa - just before I take my toys and go ; )
By rumors, I mean that some people are saying Interagency is at Lincoln (i can't find any evidence of that), others think its medically fragile 18-21 yr olds. The Skills center has something there but that may be after hours. By worries, I mean some people feel uneasy about much older age groups being cohoused with elementary kids especially if it is unclear what their background is. I'm not trying to fight but I am surprised by the level of vitriol here.

No secrecy

Anonymous said...


" Nathan Hale Transition Program at Lincoln."

Apparently the "Rainier Beach Transition Program" is located at Old Van Asselt Building, although this is not specified in the post. ( mentioned in a current job posting for that program) Located with a preschool program - in another wing, perhaps?

Googled it

Melissa Westbrook said...

"They are option schools so folks get to choose."

K-8 are NOT all option schools. Blaine isn't. (You can't be assigned to middle school there but it's a neighborhood school for K-5.)

No secrecy, you can ask the district about this. Have you?

Anonymous said...

It's a good reminder of the double edged sword of student privacy. An incident at Roosevelt - very different situation, and different school population - dealt with questions around what can (or can't) be disclosed to parents at a school:



Mary Griffin said...

I think what needs to be looked at here is the question of whether or not calling 911 was a result of someone's interpretation of a zero tolerance policy or not. If so, it would be a perfect example of why zero tolerance policies are stupid. But I don't have the details of the incident, so I don't know yet.

My understanding from my work on the district's discipline advisory committee (which thus far hasn't met once this year) is that the district is moving away from zero tolerance policies, as are most districts.

In any case, usually calling the police will escalate a situation, and it generally to be avoided unless there is imminent threat of bodily injury and attempts to de-escalate have failed. The attempts to de-escalate should be based specifically on what is specified in the student's IEP/BIP.

I hope that the district does the right thing and analyzes what happened and whether district policies were followed. I hope the student has an adequate IEP and that an Functional Behavioral Analysis has been done and that a Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) is in place. If there is a BIP in place, it should be re-evaluated for its adequacy after this event.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Parent, yes, I remember this episode. To me, the issue was not that students should know - but the entire staff did not know and if they had, probably could have been watchful of him.

Anonymous said...

I have no idea what the plastic knife was like that was part of the incident at the Lincoln building the other day when they had partial lock down. However, I got a plastic knife for my picnic basket. It is like a paring knife and very strong and sharp, and works just like a metal knife for cutting cheese. So, just because a knife is plastic does not mean it is not sharp and strong. Don't know about the specifics of the incident.

Anonymous said...

My daughter tells me the person with the plastic knife was a threat to himself, not anyone else. That's what she was told by unspecified staff at Lincoln anyway. That might explain why 911 was called.

--Another possibility

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Lynn said...

You are way off topic here. Can you hold the anti-HCC hate until the Friday Open Thread?

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Melissa you are a small minded person for starting a new post with this subject again. You knew exactly what would happen.

You use disabilities and rape for your blogs benefit. You are disgusting.

What goes around comes around...

Good luck

Anonymous said...

Good Luck at 12:38 pm,
I do care that appropriate procedures are followed when a SPS student acts in a way that calls for calling police or some other specialist. I don't think if someone has a sharp implement and is out of control in some way that it should be ignored. There is a line that teachers have to try to figure out using guidelines that administrators or teams come up with. If the student was injured, who would be at fault?
LincolnHS grad

Melissa Westbrook said...

It's called reporting.

Anonymous said...
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Ragweed said...

My understanding is that this incident did not happen in the same building as the bulk of Licton Springs and Lincoln students. It occurred in the C building, which does not, to my knowledge, have any other classrooms, (except maybe a theater?)

As for the safety of Licton Springs and Lincoln students, I feel confident that the staff took appropriate measures to what thankfully was a relatively minor incident. Our principal said they went on lockdown as an automatic precaution because police had been called.

Having 20-year old students in the same building as younger kids does require a bit more vigilance and supervision to insure that all are kept safe and no inappropriate behavior occurs. This is true whether it is an 18-21 transition program, volunteer tutors, college interns, or older siblings paying a visit. If you have concerns about which programs are in the Lincoln complex, I would ask your principal.

At Pinehurst, there were a number of times when police were called due to an incident where a students behavior posed a threat to self or others (almost always to self) that required outside intervention. It happens. We have a few students who have significant trauma histories, a few students who may have some behavioral issues. We have had a student who came to us having survived civil war and genocide, a child soldier before they were 10. For the most part, we are able to reach these kids and to provide an environment where they feel safe, and where they are respected, and where they can be part of a normal school.

Because these are our students - and by "our" I mean not just Licton Springs, but all of Seattle - and we have an obligation to educate, to respect, and to welcome them, all of them, into our community. I know it can be a little un-nerving at times, and we all know the fear of something happening to our children. But in the end we can't protect our children by trying to build bigger walls, or by trying to exclude some group of students or another that we have decided is a threat. We protect our children best when we have the courage to confront the problems of the world rather than hide from them, to make our schools places of healing as well as learning, and to remember that we cannot afford to throw any child away.

If you are concerned about the safety of the Lincoln campus, I would ask your principal about the lockdown procedures and related safety measures and make sure they are following best practices. If you want to know more about the older transition and medically fragile students at Lincoln, I am sure there are some opportunities where you could volunteer to help out with the program and actually get to know the human beings who are students in the program.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Ragweed. This thread was so very depressing before your post. I've been thinking lately that compassion, kindness, respect and decency are no longer virtues in America. All those who differ are the OTHER, and should be feared, mistrusted or treated with contempt. What a sad barren world we are making for our children.


Anonymous said...

Thank you Ragweed,

I volunteer in a transitions program in my child's school. I find it more rewarding than to be in my kid's classes. You would be surprised at how few volunteers they get. Very rewarding. I recommend it.

-Beyond Fieldtrips