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Skyline Open, Eastside Catholic Closed Friday, Sept. 21

In the wake of Internet threats, area schools are reviewing and enhancing security measures. The Eastside Catholic football game against Bainbridge will likely take place Saturday, Sept. 22.

While the King County Sheriff's Office and Sammamish Police Department continue to search for the source of threats against Skyline High School in Sammamish, local schools have announced plans for tomorrow, Friday, Sept. 21.

While Skyline will be open, another local school, has canceled classes for Friday and rescheduled a football matchup against Bainbridge. The game will likely be played at Eastside on Saturday at 7 p.m., but the school is asking people to confirm the date on its web site.

Sister Mary Tracy, the president of Eastside Catholic, said the school will conduct a thorough and complete review of its security measures tomorrow. Staff will be on campus, but no students.

Meanwhile, Skyline will commence classes on an alternate schedule tomorrow, beginning at 9:55 a.m. The Issaquah School District released the following statement to families this afternoon, highlighting additiona police presence at tomorrow's football game at Roosevelt.

Dear Skyline Community,

We have all been deeply rattled by the threat we received late last night, and we appreciate your concern and questions today as we all work together to make sure school opens again and students and staff feel safe and secure. Our main focus has been to partner with police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to investigate the online posting. While we have not identified the exact origin of the post, we have learned several important things: Postings of almost an exact nature—including those that target neighboring districts—have been circulating on the same online forum for several years with no resulting action on the threat; the forum in which these postings have spread is meant specifically to encourage users to create social reaction (users earn points by causing community anxiety); police have followed up on all current leads and will continue to look into new tips; and police have called on technical experts to help verify the authenticity of the picture and posting.

We have put a plan in place that gives us confidence to invite you to campus and resume classes tomorrow, although we can never guarantee with 100-percent certainty that our school will be safe.

We will begin our day at the later Wednesday time, 9:55 a.m., and end at the usual time, 2:16 p.m.  Police and staff will arrive early to secure the campus, regain their own comfort level, and prepare to support students when they arrive. Our schedule will include all six periods to give students and teachers the chance to reconnect. Additionally, we will take these extra measures:

  • Police will be present on campus throughout the day.
  • Families are invited to make their own decision about whether they are comfortable sending students to school. Extraordinary circumstances are certainly a mitigating factor for student absences.
  • Staff will be available beginning at 8:30 a.m. in the Olympic Gym to answer any parent or student questions.
  • All staff will be extra vigilant for any unusual circumstances.
  • Staff will speak to students in first-period classes about the incident.
  • Extra counseling will be on hand to work with students as needed.
  • We will operate as a closed campus for lunch to better manage the flow of students in and out of the school.

As we open school again, all after-school athletics and activities will continue as planned. We have even arranged for extra police presence at the away football game.

This threat has caused us all to pause and reflect on our vulnerability. But it has also rallied our community, and there are many thanks that we must send: to our local and regional police officers who worked on the investigation full steam, exploring all avenues; to our families and community members who sent us ongoing notifications and tips to follow up on; to neighboring districts that offered assistance; and to our students and alumni who quickly emailed building leadership expressing their willingness to help their school.

If you have any information or tips to help the police find a suspect, please call 206-296-3311.

We hope to see you tomorrow, Spartans, for an uneventful and learning-filled Friday!

Eastlake High School will be open normal hours, though heightened security measures likely will continue tomorrow, Lake Washington School District spokeswoman Kathryn Reith said.

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