PORT ORCHARD — A letter from the Cedar Heights Middle School principal was shared on the Port Orchard group Facebook page Feb. 16, informing families of “rumors related to potential harm” that will allegedly take place March 14.
“We take all threats seriously and follow building plans and district protocol to ensure student safety,” Andrew Cain, Cedar Heights principal, wrote in a letter to families.
He said the Cedar Heights administration was working with South Kitsap School District security officials and the Port Orchard Police Department “to investigate the credibility of each report, gather evidence and complete a threat assessment.”
Information was also provided via the district’s Tip Line about other possible threats unrelated to March 14.
Cain warned that the presence of law enforcement and security personnel may be increased on the school’s campus while they work to “resolve this matter.”
“We are providing this information [to] you, our families, as an essential step in creating community-wide awareness as part of ensuring student safety,” Cain wrote. “We encourage our students and parents to continue to share information with school administrators. The Tip Line is also available on our website.”
Amy Miller, South Kitsap School District communications officer, said, “We received information via student-reported rumors and our website Tip Line. We take all reports seriously and are working with law enforcement to investigate.”
Perhaps not coincidentally, March 14 is the day Women’s March organizers are encouraging students, teachers, administrators, parents and allies to participate in a national school walkout.
According to the event page on actionnetwork.org, the walkout is “to protest Congress’ inaction to do more than tweet thoughts and prayers in response to the gun violence plaguing our schools and neighborhoods.”
The plan is for participators to walk out for 17 minutes at 10 a.m. across every time zone.
“Students and staff have the right to teach and learn in an environment free from the worry of being gunned down in their classrooms or on their way home from school.”
In recent months, there’s been a growing number of threats in school districts throughout Kitsap County. South Kitsap High School was on the receiving end of a few potential threats near the end of 2017.
Two threats were received in November. One turned out to be directed at another area school with a similar name, shared over social media. The second was a phoned-in bomb threat. The third recent event, in December, was also shared via social media.
If you have any information about a threat to school safety, get in touch with district administrators or use the online Tip Line, www.skschools.org/district/tip_line. The Tip Line can be anonymous.