Lockdown Confusion at Sehome Prompts Drill Review


The Connelly Creek Trail behind the school heading towards Joe’s Garden. The alleged threat took place here.

Montgomery Meeds

“All staff, please check your email,” the first unscheduled announcement said on Tuesday, May 7th, 2019, during second lunch. After two more similar announcements, a final announcement was broadcasted over the announcement system explaining that the school was under a lockout due to a student allegedly being threatened by a man with a gun on the Connelly Creek Trail behind the school.

The school went into a lockout procedure as a result. A lockout procedure, contrary to a lockdown, results in the outer doors of the school being locked, while internal operations remain unaffected. However, some teachers went into lockdown procedure instead.

“Definitely some misunderstandings with that process, with some teachers and staff, and there was some lockdown action taken by a few classrooms,” Marty Atkins, vice principal, said.

In addition to the lockout procedure, the Bellingham Police were also present in the area to keep it safe.

“They were doing some investigation on a suspicious male and it turns out that the police presence was kind of less obvious, and they had their bicycle police out kind of cruising the trails for us, so protecting the perimeter,” Atkins said. “Our district security officer came over and spent the rest of the day here at Sehome, worked from here, and he kind of handled communications after 12:45.”

As a result of the confusion about safety procedures, the school administration has been reevaluating safety procedures to ensure better communication in the future.

“We’ve had four different kind of debrief sessions with different staff that I’ve been part of,” Atkins said. “And a lot of learning on my part and on the part of the team.”

The upper level gym where AP Physics 1 testing took place during the lockout. According to Mr. Atkins, exam results will not be affected by the lockout.

The lockout also occurred during the AP Physics 1 test, but according to Atkins, the lockout is unlikely to affect the scores.

Despite the confusion in carrying out the procedure, Atkins noted he was proud of the staff and students for the quick response and that he was also “proud of the staff and students for moving on with the lessons and the day.”