(BRANDON HANSEN/Chewelah Independent)
LOW-LEVEL LOCKDOWN: Threats from a fight caused administrators to enable low-level lockdown while law enforcement was brought in to help with situation…
Jenkins Junior/Senior High School was put on a low-level lockdown last Monday, Oct. 14, after a threat was verbally given to JJSHS Principal Shawn Anderson regarding the safety of a student.
According to a district-wide email from Chewelah Superintendent Rich McFarland, there was a fight between two students earlier in the day, and one student was not able to calm down.
“This student continued to escalate and threatened substantial physical harm to another student while in the office.
“The student refused to comply with Mr. Anderson and left the building,” McFarland wrote in an email. “Law enforcement was immediately called and responded in a timely manner. Although the threat was targeted toward a particular student, it was determined that a low level lock down would be prudent at Jenkins as the threat was localized to a student at Jenkins, neither Gess Elementary or Quartzite Learning were placed in a working lock down.”
The student who had been threatened was kept in school and was escorted by staff until arriving at home at the end of the day.
McFarland said that some of the challenges the school faces with student behavior is still creating a safe and secure environment while respecting the rights of all involved.
“The administrative team responded to phone calls throughout the evening and followed up with a Level 1 Student Threat Assessment Protocol this morning,” McFarland wrote. “Fortunately all of our administrators and school counselors received training on this protocol last week.”
The administrative team reviewed eleven key questions that require analysis of past behaviors, family history, involvement with law enforcement, information from interviews with students, and staff questionnaires. In addition to this process, the administrative team met with a parent of the student and a police officer the next morning. Administrators determined that this was a Level 2 threat and requested that the coordinator from the ESD initiate this additional process that engages outside agencies including law enforcement, the juvenile court system, and mental health providers. The student will not be attending school at the public building.
“It is a serious process. A big shout out and thank you to the staff at Jenkins who handled this incident with calm and professionalism,” McFarland said. “Students were kept safe and in the building as law enforcement were trying to locate the student in the community.”
McFarland added that the safest place for youth is in the school as opposed to being out and about and that the adminstrative team will continue to discuss how the situation was handled and what they need to work on.
“We realized that this would create inconveniences and increase concerns not only for our staff but also students and families,” McFarland said. “Our administrative team takes all threats seriously and will always err on the side of student and staff safety.”