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School District speaks to August arrest of student arrested Wednesday for threat

Ferndale School District sign outside the administration building on Vista Drive (October 22, 2016). Photo: Whatcom News

FERNDALE, Wash. — The Ferndale School District issued a media advisory yesterday that provided additional details into Wednesday’s arrest of a 16-year-old male Ferndale High School (FHS) student after officials received a report of “a shooting threat” having been made.

According to the advisory, FHS administrators made contact with Whatcom County probation officers on September 23rd after a concern had been raised by a FHS staff member. On September 24th, they learned the student had been arrested in August by Ferndale Police for making threats and “immediately began creating a safety plan.” A threat assessment would have then been prepared but the threat and subsequent arrest resulted in an emergency expulsion instead.

In response to questions about why the district was unaware of the student’s arrest in August, district officials said in the advisory,

He did not make a threat against Ferndale High School in August. In fact, he was not a Ferndale High School student in August. Therefore, the Ferndale School District did not have knowledge of his August arrest at the time he registered for school, which was on September 3.

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As part of the judicial proceedings related to this student’s August arrest, the student’s guardian told the judge that the student would be pursuing a GED, which is an alternative to a high school diploma that students acquire outside of public school.

This student registered at FHS because he is a resident living inside Ferndale School District boundaries. This student came to us from out of state and provided no additional information regarding his past history. His previous school district did not provide academic or behavior records. We were working to acquire these.

District officials also explained what may follow as a result of the student’s arrest and emergency expulsion.

As with any student who resides in our attendance area, we are obligated to provide him an education. However, in this case, we know the following:
 A court order has been issued that includes a safety plan.
 The student will not be allowed back at FHS until a Level II Threat Assessment has cleared him.

We do not have additional information at this time about how, when, and/or if this student may return.

This story was updated on 10/2/19 to reflect that Ferndale Police were the arresting agency during the August arrest.

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