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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Washington Middle School Locked Down Today

From King 5 news:

SEATTLE – Washington Middle School in Seattle was locked down Thursday afternoon after 911 received a cell phone call from a man threatening to kill children.

Seattle School District spokesperson Theresa Whipple says the caller did not specify a school, but a cell phone trace put the location of the call somewhere near Washington Middle School at 2101 S. Jackson Street.

As a precaution, the school doors were locked and the students were kept inside. Police armed with assault rifles then escorted children to their waiting school buses and parents.

"There have been threats here before where they've had the police come and we've had to wait about an hour to get the kids, but they never tell you the details," said parent Dominika Rosinski.

Police are still looking for the suspect. They do not have a description but they do have the caller's cell phone information.

This seems to have happened at the end of the school day according to other news reports.

That must have been terribly scary for all involved. I hope they find this person and lock him up.

16 comments:

MathTeacher42 said...

I've got an idea - let's all make assumptions about what might have happened first, then make assumptions about what could have or should have happened in response,

then we'll make assumptions about what might happened next, then make assumptions about what could have or should have happened in response,

then we'll spend the weekend watching Judge Judy, Dr. Phil, and Jerry Springer!

disgusted.

Maureen said...

No, Math Teacher, we only do that when we are second guessing teachers' decisions!

(is there a special font for sarcasm?!)

Melissa Westbrook said...

Math Teacher, it did happen. This is what the police reported. There is no assumption. They took a threatening phone call, did their jobs and realized it came near a school and locked the school down.

I report these things because it is important for parents to know when incidents occur in our district.

Gouda said...

Here is the letter the principal sent to parents via e-mail tonight. We received the same message via voicemail this evening as well.

This is Jon Halfaker, Principal at Washington Middle School with a very important update for the Washington Middle School community. I wanted to let you know that as students were being dismissed at the end of school today, the Seattle Police Department received a threatening 911 call that they believed may target our students. In order to be extra cautious, the police advised that we bring all the students back into the building until the police investigated and secured the situation. As a result, students were delayed in their release from school, but our priority was to make sure that each student had a safe departure from school. A letter will be coming home with your student tomorrow regarding today’s events.

School is open tomorrow. Seattle Police and Seattle School District staff will be providing additional support to ensure a normal school day takes place. Counselors will be available to support students who feel anxious regarding this event and want to talk with an adult. The Dr. King Assembly, which was scheduled for tomorrow, will be rescheduled early next week. Again, a letter regarding today’s event will come home with students on Friday afternoon and will be posted to our website at the end of the day.

While this was a stressful situation for all who were involved, I want to commend the students and staff for their actions and calm during today’s event. As Principal of this great school, I could ask for no better response from all of them.

Sincerely,

Jon Halfaker, Principal
Washington Middle School

katweb said...

I have two kids at the school that walk home. Am I happy that WMS took the threat seriously? You better believe it!

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Charlie Mas said...

My daughter was already on her bus when she was called back into the school. She said that the students were never told what was going on. Her bus didn't leave the school until after 4:00.

Giddens School also got the warning and brought their children in.

Dorothy Neville said...

http://www.centraldistrictnews.com/2009/12/23/two-young-arsonists-caught-at-washington-middle-school

Hmm. The Central District News item that Helen linked to contained this other story. Another "the administrators did not communicate with police." Anyone know more? Was the fire department involved?

butter25 said...

I'm a parent and was locked in the school along with the students. I am very happy with the way Mr. Halfaker and his staff handled the situation. While it was very frightening and felt like we were in an armed encampment, I think the police handled it in the appropriate manner. To treat a situation like that with any less severity would have been stupid and reckless. Kudos to the SPD and WMS staff for taking the necessary precautions and keeping the kids as safe as possible during those few hours.

Mercermom said...

I do think that it would be appropriate for the District/School to have a communication plan that attempts to provide accurate information to parents while such an event is happening. My husband learned of the situation via a text from our son. We had no information regarding status or what the plan was (or anything beyond what my son was told and could observe). I immediately googled and got information off the PI Blog. I understand that the first priority of all adults is to take actions to ensure the safety of students present. But accurate communications to concerned parents is a reasonable part of such actions, as it might prevent parents from doing something that would be contrary to effective management, like racing over. And if it is part of an emergency management plan, effective communication can be done by a specific point person who is not involved in activities at the school. Concerned parents shouldn't have to rely on google searches or whether their child happens to have a charged cellphone to be given basic, timely information about why their child is not leaving school and what to expect.

seattle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
seattle said...

Nathan Hale had a shelter in place and parents were never told about it. Not as it happened, or afterwards. Parents heard about it from their students after school and of course the student accounts were varying (from a pedaphile raoming through the school halls to a boyfreind with a gun on campus). We never received any official word, so who knows?? When Dr. Hudson was questioned about it she said she would have communicated to parents if it were a "lock down", but she doesn't communicate to parents about a "Shelter in place". Personally, I think a "shelter in place" warrants swift communication to parents. Not something we should hear about unofficially, after the fact.

Maureen said...

Ad hoc are you out there?!

I worry when I don't see regular posters!

seattle said...

Hi Maureen,

Yes, I'm still out here. Using a different moniker as of late...to many people at my kids school knew me as adhoc and I was beginning to feel uncomfortable posting candidly. I'm sure You'll recognize my posts when you read them!

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Grant Proposal Writing Services said...

Math Teacher, it did happen. This is what the police reported. There is no assumption. They took a threatening phone call, did their jobs and realized it came near a school and locked the school down.