SCHOOLS: Letter sent to families regarding response to ‘concerning comment’

Thanks to the Chief Sealth International High School/Denny International Middle School parents who forwarded this letter sent to families this afternoon by the schools’ principals:

We want to share information regarding a situation that occurred yesterday, how it was handled, and to assure you that we are always doing everything we can to support our scholars.

Yesterday afternoon, one Sealth scholar made a concerning comment to another Sealth scholar about violence at school. It was reported to Sealth administrators, who took immediate steps to investigate and respond. The Sealth team followed the appropriate steps with both Seattle Public Schools Safety and Security and the Seattle Police Department. The comment was deemed to be “low-level” and not a credible threat. Student safety is always our top priority and in Seattle Public Schools, no threat is too small to immediately respond to. Sealth administrators did that and are continuing to coordinate with the family, with Denny Administrators, and with SPS Safety and Security in alignment with the district’s procedures and policies.

Additionally, social media has played a large role in partial information being widely shared amongst our scholars about this incident. Unfortunately, that has caused some unnecessary stress in some kids. In order to try to help with, we shared information at both schools this morning and communicated that everything has been responded to thoroughly and everything is safe at school.

We would also like to recognize and thank all of the many scholars and families who immediately sent the related social media post to administrators to make sure we were aware. Sharing information quickly can help to ensure students’ safety and also dispel any inaccurate or partial information.

Please be assured that the safety and security of our scholars will always be our top priority. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Though that letter didn’t elaborate on what was “shared …at both schools this morning,” the short note sent to Sealth staff at midmorning was also forwarded to us by a recipient:

There have been rumors on social media that there may be some violence here at Sealth today. We are aware of this and the Sealth administrative staff in collaboration with SPS Safety and Security office and Seattle Police Department followed all safety procedures to ensure that our campus (both Sealth’ and Denny’s) are safe.

Tomorrow is the last day before spring break for Seattle Public Schools including Sealth and Denny.

14 Replies to "SCHOOLS: Letter sent to families regarding response to 'concerning comment'"

  • Parent April 4, 2019 (11:24 pm)

    This school really really needs new leadership and other assistance. I really find it sad that I won’t let my child attend 9th grade there because I am concerned for their safety. Glad we have options it’s really unfair that our neighborhood school has constant problems with fights and threats of violence. I read it here, it came up alot in Research as well as when talking to parents of students. 

    • Rozz April 5, 2019 (10:42 am)

      I dont know what youre talking about. I live next door to this school. The kids I see around the school every day are normal students. About the only thing remarkable about them is the sheer ethnic and cultural diversity, which matches the general neighborhood. You got students of all races, cultures and subcultures going by. I dont hear fighting or violence but maybe once a year(and how close I live, I can pretty much hear everything major going on outside at the school. Kids fighting or stepping up to each other is very noticible). I’m sure kids fistfight or brawl sometimes. That happens at all schools. It happened at mine, it happened at yours. But you make it sound like theres rampant violence with weapons and gangs everywhere. Believe me, if kids were shooting guns or stabbing each other, us neighbors would notice. The school seems very similar to the HS I went to in central WA in the mid 90s – which was another extremely ethnically diverse school with an unfounded reputation for fighting and violence.I cant help but wonder how much of people’s perception is tainted by the stereotype of White Center itself as a dangerous violent place – or the fact that the student body is incredibly diverse.

    • Denny/Sealth Mom April 5, 2019 (12:15 pm)

      Sorry your research left you with that conclusion.  There are parents who are moving their children to Denny and Sealth because of the privilege type of bullying that occurres at the north end schools. And there are also physical altercations that occur at Madison/W Sea but you may not hear about it. Did you hear about the girl that got beat up after the Winter Ball over at the Admiral Safeway while waiting for her parents to pick her up?  My guess is not.  You need to make choices that you feel are right for your family but if you think your child is “safe” at one school vs another, you might be in for an unfortunate surprise.  Harm comes in all types of ways, phyisical and mental.While I agree that Sealth needs some new engergetic leadership, it isn’t going to stop kids being kids and saying/doing dumb stuff.  Good luck, ( no sarcasm, intended ) with your child’s high school career. I hope they/you are successful where ever they land.Huge THANK YOU to WS Blog for all coverage.  Good, Bad and inbetween.  It is appreciated.  

      • There I said it April 5, 2019 (6:58 pm)

        Hmm nope. Nobody is uprooting their families to come to Denny/Sealth. Almost all students live in the reference area. A few -me included- requested to go there for the dual immersion program. My child is at Denny and the minute she is done we are going back to our neighborhood high school or private. I would never trust CSIHS with another one of my kids. I pulled my oldest for safety reasons compliments of Aida Fraser-Hammer. I am one of many families (and teachers) living the school.And  yes, I did go as high as the area director and the school board with a group of families with our concerns. It is almost impossible to remove a bad principal (look at what’s happening at Washington Middle School). If you are not happy at your school, come forward and persist. It might work. It didn’t for our family.

        • WSMOM April 5, 2019 (10:28 pm)

          There I said it, I 100% did pull my kid out of west Seattle due to girl drama and bullying and since pulling her out as have found many other families who had the same problems. There I said it. I will never send my child back to that school. The Peincipal is much better than Sealth but the kids not so much. 

  • Greg April 5, 2019 (7:19 am)

    This is a response to “Parent”.  First, realize that everything that goes on in a school doesn’t get reported.  Discipline records are confidential and decisions about how to handle things are not released to the press.  Because of that, and the general tendency of the press to focus on the negative, please understand that you are not getting the whole picture.  I’m sure there are negative things that happen at Sealth (and probably the school you send your child to).Second, if you are a community member and you think “someone should do something” how about recognizing that you are a someone.  You could get involved in a variety of ways from attending school board meetings, supporting additional supports for poor communities, or perhaps even get your administration credentials and show everyone how it is done.Sitting in front of a computer and sniping at the hard working people in the public schools accomplishes nothing.  If you really care as much as you seem to then I’d encourage you to do more than “research”, but to take action.  All I ask is that you do it for the right reasons including improving our shared resource — public education.  If you are sending your kids to a charter school you are already undermining that shared resource more than our hard working public educators.

    • WSB April 5, 2019 (8:33 am)

      Good points of course but it’s NOT true that “the press” (in this case us, since we do the bulk of the original news reporting in this area) just “focus(es) on the negative.” Last five WSB stories to mention Chief Sealth, for example:

      -this one
      -the Neighborcare alert (which mentioned 6 West Seattle schools in all plus 2 from Vashon and four outside WS)
      -Chief Sealth Mock Trial Team’s achievements at state competition
      -Chief Sealth hosts Washington Global Issues Network Conference
      -Chief Sealth Mock Trial Team heads to state

      And that’s just in the past three weeks. (Not counted: Daily-highlights mentions that also included Multicultural Night, which unfortunately we were not able to cover this year.)

  • Greg April 5, 2019 (9:39 am)

    WSB — I fully agree with your point.  I like this blog precisely because you do focus on the positive.

  • WSMom April 5, 2019 (12:05 pm)

    Parent, I understand your concerns but I have to tell you that I have sent my kids to BOTH public high schools here in West Seattle and both have many problems AND many positives. Just to sit there and say you are not sending your kid to THAT SCHOOL is not the answer.  I understand Summit has many problems (and positives) also. Good luck when it comes to the high school years because you are going to need it!

  • newnative April 5, 2019 (2:31 pm)

    There was a story about violence at WSHS in the Community Forum that I had found hard to believe so I asked my son, who used to attend. He confirmed the story. It was just the type of thing that isn’t publicly discussed, even when the police are involved. I know about kids that went to the “alternative” schools and had just as much, maybe more trouble with drugs and pressure. So, this finger-pointing at Denny/Sealth is just ridiculous. 

    • WSMOM April 5, 2019 (2:48 pm)

      Yes. I have heard about the violence outside of west seattle. I asked my daughter and she confirmed it too. I think people think WSHS is a better option because they are more comfortable there but it’s not true. They just keep things more quiet for some reason. 

    • WSB April 5, 2019 (2:52 pm)

      The incident to which the forum post’er was referring was eventually publicly discussed:

      However, in researching reported robberies for the first three months of the year, though police cited 25, I did not find that many reports or incident numbers, and did not find a particular preponderance near any local school. – TR

      • newnative April 5, 2019 (4:00 pm)

        Thanks for the update. My son attended WSHS several years ago, leaving early for the Running Start program. He never complained while he attended but when I asked him about this event, to see if it was possible or likely, he said, “oh yeah”. I specifically asked him about Hiawatha and he added that it happened at McDonald’s too, both places bordering the school. 

  • anonyme April 5, 2019 (3:01 pm)

    Greg, thank you for your reasoned response, your comment about charter schools in particular.  We can’t possibly expect the moon from public schools when already scarce resources are being diverted to charters.   Schools these days are expected to be educators, psychologists, sociologists, and police, all while sadly underfunded.  The issues under discussion are not specific to schools but reflect what is happening in society as a whole.  It’s effed up.

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