Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Interagency students, 12 and 14, arrested for armed robbery

Here's a grim little story that was in the Times.

It appears that two students from the Interagency School at Wilson-Pacific left the school at about 11:00 in the morning and tried to hold up a gas station at 84th and Aurora with a BB gun. The older student stood at the door while the younger student threatened the clerk with the gun and demanded cash. They received none.

After the failed hold up attempt, the two of them, aged 12 and 14, returned to the school where they are students. They were arrested there after being identified by the clerk and a school administrator who watched the store surveillance video.

I don't really have a lot to say about this. There really isn't a lot to say. I will note that I am surprised and concerned that young students at the Interagency School can come and go from school in the middle of the day like that. Is it an open campus? Did the school officials know - or have any way of knowing - that the two students were off campus? What about the school's responsibility for in loco parentis?


Central Mom said...

What about the fact that the District apparently does not notify parents when a facility is on lockdown. Should this not be part of emergency communications from the District? Should parents not be able to find this information on the website and via an auto phonecall or email or txt? Reading about it in the newspaper, with no news from the District, is highly disconcerting. Leschi last week, same thing.

Not trusting that the District is going to want to trumpet bad news, is there any legal reasoning that would insist in such a parental notification?

CCM said...

WMS was in a "shelter-in-place" situation yesterday morning (different from lockdown - the kids can readily explain the difference between the two).

We received an auto-call, a letter went home with students and an email was sent out. I was satisfied with the communication.

It came from the principal however, not the district, so is it up to each principal to decide if/how to notify?

I'm not thrilled with the fact that it was necessary for the middle-school to enact security measures - yet happy that there are firm and quickly-enacted plans in place to handle these types of situations.

Central Mom said...

Thanks CCM. Did the auto call and email happen as the situation was occuring or after. If "during" then I stand corrected. If "after" then as a parent I would still be looking for that level of immediate responsiveness (with a followup email/call/letter when the situation was resolved).

Charlie Mas said...

The principal at Washington, Mr. Halfaker, is exceptionally good about this sort of thing. He is right on top of all kinds of communication.

Anonymous said...

Not to detract from the seriousness of this issue...Here is a very positive announcement about SPS kids in the Seattle Times today.

Ingraham High School rocketry team gets NASA invite

h2o girl said...

This is also scary:


Mercermom said...

I guess I'm wondering if immediate notification would be detrimental to efforts to ensure safety of the kids. The fact is, we entrust the school to ensure our kids' safety during the day. As I understand it, someone crossed the school property and may have discarded a weapon while doing so. The school decided that the safest course was to put the school in "shelter-in-place" mode, in which blinds are closed, no one leaves classes, and instruction continues (this from my son). If parents then started calling or coming to the school to try to find their kids, would that detract staff attention from focusing on ensuring student safety?

Charlie Mas said...

It occurs to me that if those two students returned to the school, didn't they bring the gun with them? And if they did, then aren't they in trouble for bringing a weapon to the school?

anonymous said...

What a sad and scary story. Twelve is awfully young to participate in such a violent crime. I hope the kids get some help.

As for kids leaving school grounds even though the school has a closed campus, well, that happens all the time. Or at least it has at the schools my kids have attended - Salmon Bay, kellogg in Shoreline, and Nathan Hale (Hale has closed campus for 9th graders). Schools can have a closed campus, but it's tough, logistically, to enforce. Especially if the school has open campus for some grades, and closed for other grades.

As for security notifications, it must vary by school? Nathan Hale had a "Shelter in Place" a couple of months ago, and they made no attempt at all to notify parents. We had to hear about it from our kids. I'd like to know if there is a policy or procedure in place that requires a school to notify parents when a "lock down" or "Shelter in Place" occurs? It seems reasonable to expect notification immediately after the threat is resolved.

CCM said...

Charlie -

My understanding was that WMS students were not involved in the incident - just that the "suspect" (or whatever you call him/her) was in the vicinity of the school so the police notified administration.

I think notifying parents during an incident would be difficult, as student safety should be the #1 priority. If it is an ongoing situation (hours-long) - then yes, I want to be notified, but something that lasts one hour (like the one yesterday) I was fine with the after-the-fact communication.

It sounds like notification depends on the administration at a given school, as Hale didn't notify parents.

Dorothy Neville said...

RHS has closed campus for 9th graders, but the principal frankly acknowledged to the students that it was unenforceable. However, if a 9th grader got caught doing something bad off campus when they were supposed to be on closed campus, well they would get in extra trouble. (I also wonder about the gun in this case. Shouldn't that be expulsion?)

I was in my first lock down years before the term was in the vernacular. 1988 in one of the wealthiest communities in the USA. Tragic shooting at a nearby elementary school. Four children shot, one killed. One miracle survivor needed 6 pints of blood (and just how much blood does a first grader have?) And for our k12 school it happened to be Senior Skip Day. Extra worry, given that the perpetrator's whereabouts were unknown for hours. My point, if I have one, is you just never know.