ORIGINAL FRIDAY NIGHT REPORT: Thanks to the Pathfinder K-8 community members who forwarded this letter emailed tonight by the school’s principal, Dr. Britney Holmes:
Dear Pathfinder Families and Staff,
I’m writing to inform you about an incident that occurred today at our school.
This morning about 8:50 a.m. a staff member discovered a noose attached to a tree on our campus. They immediately notified me. I took photos to document the item, and then had the custodian remove it. Discovery and removal took place during student arrival time. We don’t know how many students may have seen it.
We immediately contacted SPS Safety and Security department. We have also made a report to the Seattle Police Department. The incident is still under investigation.
Our school administrative team will be meeting with the central office coordinated school health team to determine next steps in providing supports to our school community. In the meantime, employees can receive free, confidential short-term counseling from the SPS Employee Assistance Program (EAP). The number for EAP is 877-313-4455. Seattle Public Schools (SPS) is committed to ensuring students have safe and welcoming environments for learning.
Neither SPS nor our school will tolerate any symbols of hatred, oppression, or violence. As a community, we are working to be anti-racist. We will continue to build anti-racist systems in our school. We will continue to lift up our families and communities of color and keep them involved in our process.
I hope you can find comfort and joy with family and friends this weekend.
We have no additional information but will be following up with the district and police.
ADDED MONDAY MORNING: This is the only statement from the district so far, via spokesperson Tim Robinson: “A noose was discovered on Friday and the district is offering supports to staff and students. Additional information has come in and, working with the school principal, the district is continuing to investigate in order to gain as much information as possible regarding the use and occurrence of this abhorrent symbol.”
ADDED WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Multiple readers have forwarded us an email that Dr. Holmes sent tonight. It begins:
I’m writing today to provide an update about the recent incident that occurred at our school.
As you know, a noose was found attached to a tree on our campus last Friday. Immediately, this incident was reported to Seattle Public Schools Safety and Security and the Seattle Police Department.
Since the opening of the investigation, a member of the Pathfinder community has come forward to identify the person responsible. That information has been shared appropriately with law enforcement and SPS leaders in order to bring appropriate resolution to the matter. The case remains under investigation by SPD.
Although responsibility has been admitted, I want to emphasize that this does not mitigate the gravity of the incident and its deep impact on those members of our community. Collectively, we must acknowledge that the symbolism used in this incident, regardless of intent, invoked anger and fear in many people, particularly our BIPOC families and staff.
As a result, my immediate hope and goal is to bring our Pathfinder family together to begin the healing process with the following opportunities for understanding and conversation.
The principal then lists three times next week for the school and Pigeon Point community to have that conversation, in “affinity spaces” for white participants at one and BIPOC participants at the other, and a third event for all.