Education

Threat of violence found on bathroom wall prompts another modified lockdown at Tacoma school

School lockdowns: What’s the difference between a modified vs. full lockdown?

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security defines two types of lockdowns used in schools across the country — modified and full lockdowns. Here's when each is typically used, and what they mean for staff and students.
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The U.S. Department of Homeland Security defines two types of lockdowns used in schools across the country — modified and full lockdowns. Here's when each is typically used, and what they mean for staff and students.

Tacoma School of the Arts will operate on modified lockdown Tuesday after a threat of violence was discovered written on a bathroom wall at the district’s Music Box, 302 S. 9th St.

The lockdown follows two similar incidents last week at Lincoln High School and Franklin Pierce High School, where threats of violence were also discovered on bathroom walls, The News Tribune reported.

There will be “extra school patrols and (Tacoma Police Department) patrols around SOTA locations, and we will operate in modified lockdown tomorrow,” Tacoma Public Schools communications director Dan Voelpel said in a text message to The News Tribune on Monday.

“We sent a message to our SOTA, SAMi and iDEA families on Friday after finding a threat of violence written in restroom at 9th and Broadway building,” Voelpel said.

An email sent by SOTA co-director Renee Froembling was obtained by The News Tribune on Monday.

“We have discovered a threat of violence against our school left in a restroom at our Music Box. ... The threat indicated the violence would occur on Tuesday morning. We take all threats seriously,” the email stated.

Tacoma police are aware of the threats and are communicating with schools, said spokeswoman Loretta Cool.

Similar threats of violence have surfaced on school bathroom walls across the country.

A student from Bakersfield, Calif. was arrested on Oct. 29 for “allegedly writing a message on a bathroom wall about bringing firearms to school and shooting people,” according to a Bakersfield.com article written last month. A week later, another threat was found at the same school.

On Nov. 1, a threat was found on a bathroom wall of a middle school in West Virginia, resulting in increased police presence for several days, reported WSAZ NewsChannel 3. Officers believed the threat was not credible.

In June, Westchester police in New York ruled a threat written on a school bathroom wall a prank but kept up police presence at the school, reported NBC New York.

Allison Needles covers news in Puyallup, Sumner and Bonney Lake for The Puyallup Herald and education news for The News Tribune in Tacoma. She was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest.


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