Authorities investigating WR incident

Police now believe one bad decision led to another and, eventually, a group of White River High School students had hung a Barack Obama doll in effigy in a school stairwell.

  • Sunday, November 23, 2008 10:26pm
  • News

Police now believe one bad decision led to another and, eventually, a group of White River High School students had hung a Barack Obama doll in effigy in a school stairwell.

That started a sequence of events that resulted in the emergency expulsion of five students, a review by the school district and, finally, a decision that the matter be turned over to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department.

Det. Ed Troyer, a Sheriff’s Department spokesman, said investigators are still gathering facts and talking to people either involved in or witnesses to the Nov. 6 incident. When everything is sorted out, Troyer said, the case will be handed to the Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s office, which will determine if charges are leveled.

While the district announced actons against five students, Troyer said the department is looking at three, one 17 and a pair of 16-year-olds.

According to reports, a doll identified with an “Obama 2008” patch had a string placed around its neck. The other end of the string was then looped around a pipe in the stairwell.

Troyer said the doll hung for just a few minutes before it was removed, but was witnessed by plenty of students.

Troyer said indications are that the incident was not a planned event and not a part of a political protest.

Two days earlier, Obama had been elected the nation’s first black president.

White River Superintendent Tom Lockyer believes his district is like any other – and the recent incident was a case of a few students making a bad choice.

“It’s not the culture we believe we have here,” he said, referring to the racial overtones brought about by the event.

“It wouldn’t have mattered if it was another president or another president-elect,” Lockyer said. “The district would have dealt with it the same way.”

At the Nov. 12 White River School Board meeting, White River High Associated Student Body President Brandon Skyles said he and other student leaders are trying to remind those outside the school of the positives coming out of the student body.

“It goes against what we really are here,” he said of the incident.

Lockyer agreed and said he’s encouraged by the students who are stepping up to let outside sources know the reality of the situation. “It’s not a reflection of what the student body is as a whole,” he said.

Reach Kevin Hanson at khanson@courierherald.com or 360-802-8205. Reach Brenda Sexton at bsexton@courierherald.com or 360-802-8206.

More in News

Following resignation, POM will again be searching for director

The board of directors met Dec. 12 to discuss the issue.

The city of Maple Valley’s state Route 169 improvements will be made between Witte Road Southeast and Southeast 240th Street, the stretch of road just southeast of the city’s SR 18 interchange. Image courtesy of the city of Maple Valley
Improvements to SR 169 underway, may affect local commuters

If you drive north through Maple Valley, these road-widening projects will probably affect your arrival time.

White River officially kicks off Glacier Middle School project

Also, Wilkeson Elementary slated to be opened early January.

Spiketon Bridge to get temporary repair

By next fall, a two-lane temporary bridge is expected to help ease Buckley traffic.

Bonney Lake family sued over deceptive charity practices

The King County Superior Court ruled four multi-state charities used false or misleading statements in solicitations, tricking donors into donating money when they otherwise may not have.

A woman works on a drawing next to an unused viewing scope as a smoky haze obscures the Space Needle and downtown Seattle last August as smoke from wildfires moved across the region. (Photo courtesy of The Herald/Elaine Thompson/Associated Press)
Why do Washington voters struggle with climate change policies?

Despite environmental awareness and the public’s apparent desire for reform, statewide initiatives keep failing

Dead passengers in fatal SR 164 crash identified

One of the passengers was a local middle schooler.

Flavored tobacco: a candy-coated addiction | Public Health Insider

Is it a candy? A juice box? Or liquid nicotine?

Mary Lynn Pannen, founder and CEO of Sound Options, has consulted thousands of Washington families on geriatric care for 30 years. Photo courtesy of Sound Options.
Elder abuse cases are on the rise in Washington

Local agencies and geriatric care managers aim to increase public awareness about the epidemic.

Most Read