Sad News All Around

I missed it but there it was reported by the Times yesterday that there was an 18-year old girl at Chief Sealth High School who reportedly had a gun on campus.  Police arrested her off-campus at a nearby shopping center. The police did not find a gun but the Times says "they arrested her for investigation of a firearms violation."  (I asked SPD and they said the arrest was made because of credible information about the gun issue and her "status" at CSIHS.) SPS had briefly put both Denny and Sealth on a shelter-in-place.  Apparently a group of students - not related to the incident - ran from police when confronted.

Piece of advice to give your kids - don't run from cops.  They hate that and will be less-than-happy when they do catch you.

As well, the Times has been following the shooting at the homeless encampment known as the "The Jungle" where 3 brothers in their teens appear to be involved in a shooting that left two people dead.  The police now say that the two older brothers, 17 and 16, will be charged as adults with murder.  The youngest brother, at 13, will be charged as a juvenile.  All three have juvenile criminal records.

I attended the Executive Committee meeting this morning and asked President Patu if she had any word if these were SPS students and she said they were still "checking."

Update: the Times reports that these are homeless kids who have not been enrolled in any school (combo of homelessness and juvenile crime issues I suspect.)  This looks like a very good example of how a family can completely fall apart due to homelessness.

end of update
 Update: from the NY Times story:
But law enforcement officials say Kik — used by 40 percent of American teenagers, by the company’s own estimate — goes further than most widely used apps in shielding its users from view, often making it hard for investigators to know who is using it, or how.
end of update

I also wanted to bring in to this sad roundup the murder of a 13-year old Virginia girl, Nicole Lovell, probably last Wednesday (police are not sure of the day yet.)  Two Virginia Tech students, a boy and a girl, have been charged in the case.  Both students seemed to have promising backgrounds - he a crosscountry star, she an engineering major.
Nicole's mom, Tammy Weeks, told The Washington Post that her daughter's nightstand had been pushed up against her bedroom door and her window was ajar when they discovered she was missing. 
"Based on the evidence collected to date, investigators have determined that Eisenhauer and Nicole were acquainted prior to her disappearance,” Blacksburg police said in a statement released Sunday. “Eisenhauer used this relationship to his advantage to abduct the 13-year-old and then kill her.”  
The authorities used more than 300 tips and social media to determine what may have happened.  The key was the app, Kik, which allows users to send anonymous messages and apparently, is favored by some pedophiles because of that feature.

The story from the Washington Post could touch any parent's heart.  Nicole was a sweet young girl who had been born with liver issues and endured a liver transplant as well as other health issues.
She asked them if she was cute. She flirted with them. She showed them coquettish pictures of herself. She was a social-media-savvy tween when she told them all about her first kiss. Her imaginary cloud world wasn’t private. On Facebook, Instagram, Kik, in chats and groups, she wasn’t the kid with the liver-transplant scars, or the baby-fat girl bullied in her seventh-grade classes. She was a flirting, dating teen with lip gloss and great lines.
The advice from this article is good:
In the digital age, any parent can be Tammy Weeks. Smartphones have made it easier to keep tabs on our children — and much, much harder.

The predators aren’t just hiding behind the Galaga machine at the arcade. They’re in our kids’ pockets, in their backpacks, in their bedrooms.

Know your kids’ digital lives. Prowl their email, their laptops and their phones.
“Have your kids’ passwords,” Bacon said. “Have a working idea of how to use your kids’ phone. Mom and Dad bought it for them, for crying out loud. They need to know how to use it.”

Bacon said he tells parents to never let their kids have in-depth, online conversations with strangers. If your kid has crossed the line, ask your phone carrier to have your kid’s phone mirrored to your phone.

“Every text, every picture they send, Mom and Dad can see on their device,” he said.
My kids hate it when I do that. Too bad.


I note from the comments at the West Seattle blog that some parents are worried about safety issues at both Denny/Sealth (because they are co-joined buildings, if something happens at one, the other shuts down as well.) Many parents want more security at the school. One student said this:

"Sealth has sadly gone downhill since I started as a freshman. Although the student body remains wonderful, diverse, and eye opening, the administration needs to start putting money in the right places and prioritize the programs that actually make a difference in the lives of us- the students. I came here for an IB education and I’m leaving with a shaky faith in the ability of the people who control my education to make informed decisions. Sealth has so much potential- it just needs a big push."

Another student's POV:

"Chief Sealth is more than the events happening around it. As a student, I am inspired every day by my hardworking teachers. My success is accredited to my own commitment and the endless support from the staff. There are many aspects that Sealth can improve on, and I have witnessed several administrative changes since I started attending. However, this has in no way caused my education to be less valuable than what another Seattle high school has to offer. The quality of a high school is subjective to how much work a student puts into their experience . If you are weary about sending your student to Chief Sealth, please consider its dozens of positive qualities against the very few unfortunate events that have happened near the school this year."
mirmac1 said…
Thank you for posting this Melissa. Rather than be quick to condemn, we should be quick to support and nurture those children who feel they have no other alternative but crime, suicide, and death!

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