UPDATE: Why police were at the Denny/Sealth campus

11:36 AM: We went to the Denny International Middle School/Chief Sealth International High School campus after parents told us their children had texted to say they were sheltering in place. Police are reported to be looking for a student who is believed to have brought a weapon – believed to be a BB gun – to school.

11:52 AM: Police tell us they’ve located the student and the weapon, and the shelter-in-place should be lifted soon if it hasn’t been already.

2:27 PM: Denny principal Jeff Clark has just sent us the letter that he sent to families:

Dear Denny International Middle School families:

We have had a strong and focused second semester and continue to work to ensure that we have a positive school culture and a welcoming environment for everyone at all times.

We want to share information relating to incident at Denny today. Although no one was hurt, the situation raises concerns. Today, one of our scholars told a staff member that he had brought an airsoft pellet gun (plastic pellets) to school. School staff determined that a second scholar also had brought an airsoft pellet gun to school. The school coordinated with the Seattle Public Schools Safety and Security Team and the Seattle Police Department to locate both scholars and both pellet guns. Due to the fact that one of the scholars had left campus, we went into a Shelter-in-Place while we searched for the second scholar. Once he was located, both scholars were taken into custody by the Seattle Police Department. SPD is continuing the investigation and the involved parents have been contacted. Additionally, the scholars are being disciplined consistent with district procedures.

As you are aware, adolescents have complex social dynamics. Ensuring that they know appropriate behavioral expectations and always feel safe is our goal. We occasionally hear from them that they feel unsafe in the community and therefore carry weapons for protection. Our staff continues to discuss personal safety with them as well as district rules and state laws.

Most importantly, we wanted to let families know about these conversations and ask them to help all of our scholars understand the importance of keeping schools absolutely free of any type of weapon, as well as the importance of sharing critical safety information immediately with adults at school. We are providing a link to some additional information that might be helpful during these discussions. http://www.seattle.gov/police/community-policing/youth-safety-tips

Please be assured that the safety and security of our scholars is a top priority at Denny International School. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

13 Replies to "UPDATE: Why police were at the Denny/Sealth campus"

  • Andros March 19, 2019 (12:57 pm)

    Apparently they arrested two students. Better life decisions 

    • WSB March 19, 2019 (2:27 pm)

      The early info (we talked with police both at the scene and by phone) only indicated one but we’ve just received the Denny principal’s letter to families, which we’re adding, and it does say two. – TR

  • There. I said it March 19, 2019 (4:03 pm)

    Mr Clark, I am one of your biggest supporters but this “scholar” word thrown around left and right and this sugar coated communications from you and Miss Fraser-Hammer are getting old. There is nothing scholarly about deciding to bring a pellet gun to school or assaulting a classmate with a wrench. Nothing is going to change unless you, your superiors, the district change this culture. Your schools needs more funding and support to give better chances of a successful future because a large number of “scholars” live in poverty, experience homelessness, come from broken homes, live in fear of being deported… you know this. The district knows this. Yet nobody is doing anything.Shame on you all.

    • S - in West Seattle March 20, 2019 (1:51 pm)

      I totally agree the work “scholar” is wrong and bothering.  They are students and should be referred to as such. 

  • valvashon March 19, 2019 (4:15 pm)

    There’s that “scholars” doublespeak again- this time it’s “scholars” with pellet guns in the school.Scholars- really?

    • WSB March 19, 2019 (4:29 pm)

      He’s been using that term for years, consistently in all references.

  • Denny/Sealth Parent March 19, 2019 (4:53 pm)

    Ah, another reason for people to bash Denny/Sealth!  These incidents could happen at any school.  Look at the profiles of past “school shooters.”  Mostly white, middle class kids.  How about looking at the positives of having your kids be educated in a diverse (ethnicity, socioeconomics) environment?  How about looking at the successes of these 2 schools?  IB program, Ethics team going to national finals, Mock Trial team going to state finals, football player winning national recognition…just to name a few.  

    • Railroaded March 19, 2019 (5:58 pm)


    • WSB March 19, 2019 (6:11 pm)

      Side note, we didn’t get news about the mock trial team until this afternoon (last we heard was when they were in districts) and have that story coming up later tonight.

    • WS Mom March 19, 2019 (8:26 pm)

      Thank you Denny/Sealth Parent. I couldn’t agree more. So tired of people bashing our school when there are just as many problems at the other (less diverse) schools on the other side of West Seattle. 

  • Marcus Pimpleton March 20, 2019 (2:31 am)

    I have known Mr. Clark for about 15 years now and for as long as I have known him, he has always referred to the young men and women under his care as scholars. While it is sometimes difficult to  keep the goal in mind given the choices students sometimes make, these young people are very fortunate to have a leader who consistently sees through their mistakes, to who they can become. In describing our students as scholars, Mr. Clark reminds them that they are more than their circumstances and more than their shortcomings. He reminds us all of our responsibility to do our part to realize their potential and to resist allowing their mistakes to mar our expectations for them or our hopes for their future.  Words have great power. I appreciate Mr. Clark for using his to speak life, even when things look difficult. 

  • West Seattle Hipster March 20, 2019 (4:05 pm)

    I was told by a “scholar” at Chief Sealth that there was another assault in the school today, an 11th grade girl had her head slammed into a sink.

    • WSB March 20, 2019 (5:16 pm)

      There is no medic call logged there or anywhere nearby today. But there is a police call that has turned up on Tweets by Beat (which usually lags by a few hours) coded “assaults, other.” Will check on it tomorrow. If anybody gets a letter home, please let us know. – TR

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