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Yelm Schools Superintendent Wharton on yesterday’s lockdown

Superintendent Brian Wharton

On Wednesday, February 28, Yelm High School was placed into a lockdown situation for about 75 minutes. The reason for the lockdown was precautionary after a group of students engaged in talk that a student might be planning to bring a weapon on campus. That talk, both on social media and at school, quickly escalated to a false rumor. The students, to their credit, immediately reported the rumor to school administrators. As a precaution, the administration put the school into lockdown to fully search and interview students. Yelm Police were also involved at that point. It was quickly determined that no weapon was brought onto the campus, nor was there any threat made against students or the school.

The tragic event at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida has created heightened awareness about school safety. In Yelm we care deeply about our students and work hard to ensure their safety.

* We have a full time Yelm Police Officer working exclusively with our district, predominantly at Yelm High School.
* All our schools are equipped with emergency response buttons in their main offices that, if pressed, all law enforcement agencies dispatch immediately.
* Each school office has a kiosk where all visitors are required to sign in and identify where they desire to go on campus.
* All schools practice a variety of scenarios and safety drills each year to include fire, lockdown, earthquake and shelter in place procedures.
* The district and schools actively utilize social media and our websites to communicate emergency situations. We try very hard to give quick yet factual information about events at schools.
* We work hard to develop relationships with our students so they feel confident to report unsafe situations. These events are a strong testament that students quickly reported the rumor.

It is also important to note that the lockdown process was lengthened due to a few inaccurate and irresponsible social media communications. Inaccurate information escalates tension needlessly. We work with students all the time to “pause before you post” to make sure our communications are an accurate depiction of events.

We want to thank all of our families and students for supporting Yelm High School yesterday. Please know that we are very willing to answer questions and talk about our efforts to make students and staff feel safe at school.

Posted by Steve on March 1, 2018 at 10:48 am | Permalink

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