After two Edmonds School District high schools discovered anonymous graffiti threats in bathroom stalls, district Superintendent Dr. Gustavo Balderas sent an email message to parents of high school students Thursday afternoon outlining the safety protocols the district follows in addressing such incidents.
“We understand there is an increase in anxiety for our community due to recent national and local school events on top of the ongoing stress of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Balderas wrote.
The school district said Wednesday there would be a police presence Thursday on the Woodway Campus in Edmonds — home to Scriber Lake High School, Edmonds Heights K-12 and the VOICE and WorkExperience programs — after a student found a threatening message written on a bathroom wall at Scriber Lake. Police also confirmed that they will be on the Edmonds-Woodway High School campus next Wednesday, Dec. 8 following a written threat on a bathroom wall there, which was discovered Nov. 19.
District spokesperson Harmony Weinberg said police were on the Woodway campus Wednesday and there were “no further related incidents. We are continuing to monitor the situation in partnership with law enforcement,” she said. Friday is a conference day for Scriber Lake students and they are not required to be on campus, she added.
Here is the full letter from Supt. Balderas to families:
Dear high school families,
We understand there is an increase in anxiety for our community due to recent national and local school events on top of the ongoing stress of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Edmonds School District is committed to the health and safety of every student and staff member.
We want to remind you of our safety protocols and responses, and how you can help keep our community safe.
The district recently discovered anonymous graffiti threats in bathroom stalls at two of our schools. The threats were not credible, however, we contacted law enforcement right away and are working with them as we investigate the incidents. We want to thank the students who saw the graffiti and quickly reported their concerns to school leaders.
How the district responds to threats
When we learn of a threat we take immediate action by contacting law enforcement, who then works closely with district safety and security staff. We have strong relationships with our local law enforcement and work in partnership to fully investigate and respond to any threat.
We use video surveillance, social media monitoring tools, and conduct interviews with students and staff as part of investigations to help find the person(s) behind a threat.
How the district communicates regarding a potential threat or safety concern
Communication is sent out to the specific school communities involved or impacted by any threat. In the message they learn about the threat, the actions the school and law enforcement are taking, encourage them to talk to their students about safety and to report any information that could help in the investigation.
Report safety threats and/or concerns immediately
It is important for students, families and members of our community to step forward when they have information regarding possible safety concerns. If you or your students are not comfortable talking directly with staff, you can use Safe Schools Alert, a tip reporting service, in five different ways:
1. Phone: 425-551-7393
2. Text: 425-551-7393
3. Email: email@example.com
4. Web: http://1480.alert1.us
Support is available for students
We understand threats can be stressful and cause anxiety for our students and families. It is a common reaction to feel anxious following events in the media or threats of safety in our schools.
Make sure to acknowledge any feelings your student expresses. If your student needs someone to talk to, please contact your school’s counselors or psychologists.
Dr. Gustavo Balderas