FIRST REPORT, 8:09 AM: After numerous texts and other messages overnight and early today asking what we knew about a rumored threat of violence at Chief Sealth International High School, we have just talked with Seattle Public Schools. District spokesperson Stacy Howard says it appears to have originated with some angry words overheard after a fight; a student told a parent who posted about the rumor on Facebook, and screen grabs started circulating widely among students, spreading to their parents (and to us), and on it went. Of course the district is taking it seriously, Howard said, and is working with Seattle Police, as well as talking with the students who were reported to have been involved in the fight that preceded the threat/rumor. There is extra security at the Sealth/Denny shared campus as a result, she says, and if they feel there is any reason to put the schools into shelter-in-place, they will. So far, though, she says, they have found no concrete evidence – no written threats, for example. We asked if the district and/or schools will be sending a message directly to families; how that will be handled, she said, is still under discussion.
8:52 AM: Sealth principal Aida Fraser-Hammer has just sent families this message, forwarded to us by a parent:
Good Morning Chief Sealth Families and Staff
This is to let you know that school will continue as normal today. We are aware of the rumors on social media about the possibility of violence on campus. We have investigated the facts and will continue to do so. As a precaution, Seattle Police and SPS security will be in the area and on campus. School will proceed in a shelter in place format until we know that it is safe to resume normal operations. This means that all educational programs continue as normal internally but all external doors will be locked and monitored.
Thank you for your cooperation.
Aida Fraser-Hammer, Principal
ADDED 9:03 AM: SPS says Denny will follow the shelter-in-place policy as well TFN.
10:34 AM UPDATE: The schools no longer are sheltering in place. SPS tweeted this, saying Seattle Police determined the threat to be “non-credible.”
10:41 AM UPDATE: Per district spokesperson Howard, this message will go out to families:
Update: School staff in partnership with the Seattle Police Department have thoroughly investigated the rumor posted on social media about potential violence on campus. As an update, we have not found any evidence of any actual threat of violence happening at school. We have determined how we believe these rumors started on Social Media and will respond accordingly to that. The Police Department confirmed that we should lift the Shelter-in-Place, which we did at 10:05am, and continue with a normal school day. We would like to express our thanks to many scholars and families who made us aware of these rumors so that we could address with right away.