Follow up to social media threat

Follow up to social media threat
Posted on 12/04/2018

The following message was sent to Tahoma School District families, following up on information posted Tuesday evening about a social media threat:

Dear Tahoma Family:

As you may know, an incident occurred Tuesday evening involving a threat on social media that was directed at Summit Trail Middle School. The threat, which warned students not to go to school today, was posted by a Summit Trail student, who was arrested last evening and placed in the county Youth Services Center. The impact of this threat has been felt by students, parents and school staff. Fortunately, the threat was quickly dealt with and we are grateful for the rapid response.

A message was sent to Summit Trail Middle School families last night and posted on school district web pages and social media regarding the threat. Limited information was available at that time. Since then, we have additional information that we can share. The student, an eighth-grade boy, posted a photo of himself holding what appeared to be a pistol. Police have determined the pistol was an airsoft gun, which is a replica weapon similar to a BB gun. The message said: “Don’t come to school tomorrow.”

Police soon became involved when the threat was reported by at least two citizens. Police worked with school district staff to identify the student and officers went to the student’s home to investigate. After interviewing the student, the officers arrested him. He remains in custody today.

Maple Valley Police have told us that they do not believe anyone else was involved in making the threat, though some students might have had knowledge that the threat was going to be made. We do not know what prompted the threat but the investigation continues.

We have received calls and emails from several parents, asking what steps are being taken to ensure that their students are safe. Today and tomorrow, we have asked our district’s school resource officer to be present at Summit Trail Middle School to provide added security and to be available to talk to students and staff who have questions or concerns about school safety. We are also working with police as they continue their investigation. Counselors are available to talk to students who have concerns.

We will follow school district disciplinary procedures in assessing an appropriate response to the student who made the threat. The procedures provide for due process and permit the district to expel students for up to 10 days in order to allow time for investigation and to determine appropriate discipline or further suspension or expulsion. Privacy laws do not permit disclosure of the student’s identity or specific discipline that is applied.

We want to thank police and the people who saw the social media threat and called 911. It is comforting to know that people in our community understand and act accordingly when they encounter potentially dangerous information or activity. We have adopted this phrase to promote school safety awareness: “If you see or hear something, say something.” School staff, principals and administrators are always willing to listen and there is an anonymous tip line called Safeschools Alert for those who do not want to reveal their identity: https://tahoma-wa.safeschoolsalert.com/

School safety is our highest priority. Together with our community partners, we will continue to ensure that our students and staff have a safe learning and teaching environment.

Sincerely,

Tony Giurado

Superintendent




The following message was sent to Summit Trail Middle School families and staff members Tuesday evening.

Dear Summit Trail Middle School family:

We have received information about a message that was posted on social media today by a Summit Trail student, warning that students should not come to school tomorrow. The message was reported to police, who contacted the student earlier this evening. Police advise us that the student has been arrested and booked into the youth service center for making a threat. Summit Trail will operate on its usual schedule. Tahoma’s School Resource Officer also will be at school tomorrow and is available to talk to students if they have concerns. School counselors also are available to talk to students about their concerns.

We thank police for their swift response and also thank the person or persons who alerted police. Student safety is our highest priority and we are grateful to have vigilant community and law enforcement partners. We value that students and adults saw something and said something to make sure everyone is safe.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact the main office.

Thank you,
Sean Cassidy
Principal
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