FIRST REPORT, 11:53 AM: According to a PA announcement our crew just heard at Chief Sealth International High School, “shelter in place” has just ended. This comes as police were called to the campus again today, one day after what was described as a “disturbance” brought them there and led to “shelter in place” throughout Thursday afternoon. We don’t know yet if today’s incident – in which a juvenile was taken into custody – is related to what happened yesterday, an incident for which a letter was sent home to parents last night. While it was not sent directly to WSB, several parents sent it to us late last night and early this morning, and we were working on a followup as we got word of today’s incident. The letter from principal Aida Fraser-Hammer:
Dear Chief Sealth International School families:
Teenagers have a complex social life, and sometimes situations that occur in the evening impact the climate of a school community in following days. Today, several students continued a dispute about an incident that happened several days previously. As the dispute escalated, a fight ensued and a larger disturbance was created that required additional Security Office and Seattle Police Department (SPD) support. The school partnered with SPD as we responded together to the dispute. SPD continued their presence through the end of school to ensure that students were safely dismissed.
Please know that we take safety for our students very seriously. District procedures were followed and the situation was resolved quickly and safely.
We are committed to doing everything we can to keep our students safe. We will continue to work with our students on skills to resolve conflict peacefully. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me. I will be happy to speak with families and guardians directly.
District spokesperson Kim Schmanke confirmed to WSB that “procedures” yesterday included being in “shelter in place” throughout the afternoon as a “precaution.” While SFD was called to the campus at 11:30 am during yesterday’s incident, they tell us today that no one needed to be transported. We had a request out for the police report on the Thursday incident and also are seeking more information on what happened today, and will add anything more we find out.
ADDED 3:45 PM: SPD has just told us that the report from Thursday’s incident is not yet available but, according to police spokesperson Det. Mark Jamieson, “It was a fight disturbance between several students … This appeared to have started over an unreported incident off campus a week prior. There were no arrests made and officers were around campus at the end of school to ensure no further incidents occurred. ” Regarding today’s incident, Det. Jamieson adds: “Today there was a second disturbance involving several students at Chief Sealth. This appeared to be a continuation of yesterday’s disturbance. One 17-year-old male was arrested. The fight broke up and school resumed.”
P.S. The Chief Sealth PTSA’s annual safety meeting – at which topics include the difference between shelter-in-place and lockdown – is coming up on February 7th, 6:30 pm at Neighborhood House High Point (6400 Sylvan Way SW).
ADDED 6:34 PM: Just received from principal Fraser-Hammer, the letter that has gone to families tonight:
Dear Chief Sealth International School families:
I want to notify you of another unfortunate event that occurred at school today. This incident involved a confrontation between four students during lunch. Given the situation that occurred yesterday, and in a spirit of precaution and prevention of further escalation, we immediately called the Seattle Police Department (SPD) and decided to go into a shelter-in-place mode. When Sealth goes into a shelter-in-place, Denny does as well.
Both district security and SPD responded and after we assessed the situation, the shelter-in-place was ended at both schools, returning our campus to a normal school day.
SPD and the district are continuing the investigations, including determining if yesterday’s and today’s incidents are related.
Given these recent occurrences, it is important for us as staff and community members to get together to talk about next steps and ways to prevent situations like this. Please join the Chief Sealth PTSA at their next meeting on 2/7/2018 in High Point at Neighborhood House at 6:30 PM where the topics will include safety within the community and at school. Please also talk with your students about how to solve problems proactively and reporting potential situations that might cause student conflicts. As you are aware, our schools have support for students including counselors, conflict resolution programs and administrative support.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact either of us. We will be happy to speak with families and guardians directly.