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Reason behind yesterday’s Sehome High School lockout explained by principal

BELLINGHAM, Wash. — Sehome High School Principal Sonia Cole reportedly sent a message to families yesterday, December 3rd, shortly after 5pm explaining what was behind yesterday’s “modified lockout.”

Dear Sehome students, staff and families,

Thank you again for all of your patience, professionalism and calm today during our modified lockout.

I am now able to share some additional information.

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As you know, police were on site today and key to helping with our investigation. Officers confiscated an airsoft pistol from a student’s backpack during the investigation.

Because of student discipline and privacy rules, we aren’t able to share additional information about any discipline the student is facing. Thank you in advance for your understanding.

We appreciate those who stepped forward with information, and we are grateful to our partners in law enforcement. This was a good example of our systems working to help keep our school communities safe.

I hope you have a safe and restful weekend, and thank you again for your understanding and help today.

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Sonia Cole
Sehome High School, principal
Sehome High School Principal Sonia Cole (December 4, 2021)

Airsoft is type of replica handguns and rifles powered by compressed air and intended to be used in gameplay. According to Wikipedia, “Airsoft is a team game in which participants eliminate opposing players by tagging them out of play with spherical plastic projectiles shot with mock air weapons called airsoft guns. Although very similar to paintball in concept and gameplay, airsoft pellets do not leave visible markings on their target and hits are not always apparent.”

According to communications from the school, this was not a lockdown situation. It was a lockout.

According to the Bellingham Public Schools website, the difference between a “lockout” and a “lockdown” is as follows.

  • “A Lockout is initiated when there may be a danger outside of the buildings or off campus. Students and staff are moved (or remain) in classrooms and perimeter doors remain locked, including the front office. Classroom instruction continues as normal, and necessary movement can occur within a building. Law enforcement will typically notify administration when the All Clear can be given.”
  • “A Lockdown is initiated when there may be an immediate threat or hazard near or on the school campus. Students and staff are moved (or remain) in classrooms, sit away from sight line of the doors or windows, and doors and windows are locked and covered.  Classroom activities cease until the incident concludes.  The office will be closed, and phones will not be answered.”
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