Enumclaw High School entered a modified lockdown Friday out of an “abundance of caution” after rumors and concerning Snapchat photos mentioning a shooting led many students to feel uneasy about being at school that day.
No attack actually took place, all students and staff were safe and the threat was determined to be unsubstantiated, the district said.
The situation arose out of an incident that started Thursday, when staff learned around lunch time that a student had used “concerning language” about violence on campus with his peers at Enumclaw High School, according to School District spokesperson Jessica McCartney.
EHS administration quickly found, isolated and searched the student in question, McCartney said, so the school did not need to lock down at that time. She said staff are still assessing the students’ Thursday statements but confirmed that no weapon was ever found on campus.
The student was sent home and required not to return to school until the full risk assessment is completed. The next day, a concerning Snapchat message was reported by EHS students to the high school office at 11 a.m., McCartney said.
“It is my understanding, the student conversation on Thursday made mention of violence on the campus and the information on Friday was a mix of rumors and second-hand photos of a Snapchat that mentioned a shooting,” McCartney said.
(Snapchat is an instant messaging app built around sending pictures and messages that disappear soon after being viewed.)
Staff determined that the threat reported on Friday was unsubstantiated, but due to a general sense of concern and anxiety among many of the students about the lingering rumors circulating from the previous day, decided to put the school on “modified lockdown” for the rest of the day “out of an abundance of caution,” McCartney said.
That means that while exterior doors were locked, students and staff continued with a normal learning day.
“The District did not have concerns about the safety of students returning on Friday, knowing that the student was undergoing a risk assessment and not permitted to return to school,” McCartney said.
All students and staff were safe, Enumclaw School District Superintendent Dr. Shaun Carey said Friday. Families were notified and asked not to call or come to the school during the lockdown, but were later allowed to come pick up students. Students got out of school at the typical Friday 1:15 p.m. release time, Carey said.
“This is a school district’s worst nightmare,” Carey said. “We are really hyper-focused on making sure we create a situation where our students and staff feel safe, and we’re doing everything possible to make sure that feeling of safety allows for them to do the work they’re supposed to do.”
The incident at Enumclaw High School occurred a little over a week after a mass shooting at a Michigan high school killed four and injured seven.