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UPDATED: Blaine Schools initiate lockout over bathroom graffiti

Last updated on December 25, 2021

BLAINE, Wash. — Officials with Blaine School District issued the following message shortly after 11am today, December 10th.

We currently have an increased law enforcement presence on our central campuses in response to graffiti located in a girls bathroom on the high school campus. Local law enforcement is providing an increased presence on our campus due to an increase in county wide threats of violence.

Although there is no verified threat on any of our campuses, we will be securing all campuses while the graffiti is investigated. No one will be permitted to enter or exit the campuses during this time. We will provide another notification when the lockout is lifted. We are grateful for the cooperation of our law enforcement partners for their willingness to respond and work with us during these times.Blaine School District (December 10, 2021)

Blaine Police added that they “are in direct contact with the Blaine School District regarding this.”

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This incident follows several lockdowns at Sehome High School in Bellingham, another at Ferndale High School earlier and recent reports and investigations of social media messaging being interpreted as potential threats against Bellingham Public Schools.

Update 2:40pm – District officials published the following message, “Blaine Schools will be lifting the lockout of our campuses at the end of the day, and pick up / student release will occur as usual at 2:50 P.M. A statement with further details regarding the day’s events will be released later this evening.”

Update 5pm – District officials published the following message.

This morning at approximately 10:30 a high school student reported to school officials that they observed graffiti in a bathroom stall that implied an act of gun violence would occur at the school today. Police were notified and responded to the school. Following a brief initial investigation, it was determined that although the threat was not specific and its author had not been identified, securing our campuses while the investigation continued was the best decision for the safety of our students and staff. 

Typically, a lockout is utilized when there is a threat outside or nearby that risks the safety of staff and students. In today’s incident a lockout was used to secure the campus, as well as to keep students from mixing between our schools, which are in close proximity. There was also a wrestling tournament occurring on campus, adding several hundred additional people to our campus’s population. It was important to the investigation that the student groups not be intermingled. 

We understand the lockout was inconvenient for some and concerning for many, but it was necessary for us to follow the protocol of the lockout, which includes no one leaving or entering the campus. While staff are in the middle of managing an incident, it is not practical for them to be pulling students from class in order to be picked up. It is simply not possible to manage the domino effect that would create. Additionally, while the investigation of the incident was ongoing, we needed students to stay on campus to prevent us losing access to potential witnesses or persons of interest. 

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