South Kitsap High School ends lockdown | Update

PORT ORCHARD — South Kitsap High School was the victim of another online threat, the second requiring a lockdown in the last two weeks.

The school lockdown was instituted as a precautionary measure shortly before classes started Tuesday, Dec. 5 after school administrators became aware of a possible threat to staff and students on social media.

South Kitsap School District sent out an email to parents just after 8 a.m. Dec. 5 explaining that the action was taken while “administration and law enforcement thoroughly investigate and determine the validity of a possible threat to staff and students.”

Miller said the threat was communicated through a file-sharing social media app called AirDrop. The lockdown was lifted a few hours later by the district’s administration. She said students moved on to their second-period classes and continued with their school day as planned.

The district and Port Orchard Police are continuing their investigation, but Miller said they’ve made some headway in identifying the instigator.

An updated email from the superintendent was sent to parents later in the afternoon detailing circumstances leading to the lockdown. Brandsma wrote that high school administrators were notified by a staff member that several students had received a suspicious photo message via AirDrop.

“With the help of students, police were able to identify a student who admitted to forwarding the photograph,” the superintendent wrote in the email.

“This student was placed under arrest. At 9:45 a.m., law enforcement advised us that there was no longer a danger and the school resumed normal operations.”

Brandsma acknowledged that parents, students and staff members have expressed frustration over the growing number of instances in which the high school has been impacted by threats.

“Advancements in technology and social media have changed the complexity of dealing with real and perceived threats,” he wrote to parents.

Brandsma also praised the work of Port Orchard Police for its responsiveness and proactive approach in dealing with incidents. He said police detectives have been able to positively identify the source of the three most recent threats, and “have been able to identify the people responsible for making them.”

He also thanked the students responsible for notifying their teacher about the AirDrop photo.

He also asked the student body to be vigilant for unsafe conditions or suspicious circumstances involving the school.

Brandsma urged students to get in touch with an adult or school employee, or report their concerns through the district’s online “Tip Line.”