School lockdown …

Thursday afternoon I was half-listening to the scanner as I was working. I heard a Clallam County Deputy say he was heading to the school and I assumed it was the Clallam Bay school. Then I heard Forks Police Chief Mike Rowley say to the dispatcher …almost in a whisper, “I am heading into the cafeteria.”

From then on it was a flurry of many local law enforcement agencies responding on the radio and being directed to the front entrance of Forks High School.

It was obvious that something serious was going down. As I listened to law enforcement go from place to place in the school making sure all was safe, I heard it said on the scanner that there was an alleged threat that a student had a gun.

Later in the day, I received the following update from Chief Rowley:

“On 12/09/21 at approximately 1317 hours I responded to the Forks High School in response to a student stating “He has a gun.”

The Quillayute Valley Schools went into immediate lockdown in an attempt to protect and keep safe the faculty and students. The West End law enforcement response was urgent and immediate. Forks Police along with Clallam County Sheriff’s Office, La Push PD, La Push Fish and Wildlife, State Patrol, and District 1 Fire responded and identified the issue and undertook the collective effort needed to ensure that the school was the safe place the community expects it to be.

The Forks High School students, staff, and administration did an outstanding job in responding to this alleged incident. I would like to sincerely express my appreciation for a job well done by those administrators and faculty during in a highly stressful situation.

Ultimately, we determined that the incident arose from some potentially dangerous reckless statements by a few students. We can hope that a valuable lesson has been learned by all involved.”

Chief Mike Rowley A1

The next morning there was a recorded message on my office phone from QVSD Superintendant Diana Reaume. She shared that there had been an alleged threat of a student with a gun and that schools went into lockdown mode for about 40 minutes and that staff had performed as they should and a proper search revealed no weapon.

There was speculation that this activity was a social media challenge. Even an uptick in school vandalism may have its root in social media.

I am glad there was no social media when I was in school; I have been reminded of some past FHS school activities like bomb scares, dynamite in the gym, fires in trash cans, and cow guts in the hall heater.

I shudder to think … and I am thankful everyone was safe this time.

Christi Baron