Community Message Lockout Update

Good evening students, staff, families and community, 

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 it’s 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. 

We have received information from several parents who have stated they did not receive the initial communications that were sent regarding the securing of our campuses. Your feedback helped us to identify that a problem did occur with our notification system, and we worked with our vendor throughout the day to correct the issue. We believe those corrections were reflected in our follow up messaging regarding the lifting of the lockout. Since there is always a possibility that technology will fail us, we want to remind you of all the ways we send notifications, so you can make sure you are set up to receive information in more than one way; 

  • Email

  • App Notifications - download our App “Blaine School District, WA” and subscribe to notifications from the School District and your student’s individual school

  • Website Alerts 

  • Auto Call

  • Text Message

  • Social Media - Facebook and Twitter

If you haven’t already done so, please login to Skyward and complete your “Annual Student Information Update” as well as the “Race/Ethnicity” tab (which is a new requirement.) Doing this will help us have the most up to date information on your student and on how to contact you. 

Believe it or not, I had planned to focus on this very topic for the message this week. We had initially planned to run a drill next week, and this morning several of our schools had talked with students about emergency drills in preparation for that. This has created some confusion for parents today as they are hearing their students describe the event as a drill. Some campuses did practice a drill right before the actual lockout occurred today. 

Our district follows the Standard Response Protocol from The I Love You Guys Foundation, and our staff and students train on the protocol every year. Their website contains videos which may be helpful for parents to understand the process. We also recommend you view their SRP Parent Handout for K12.  

As stressful as it is for our parents to learn that a lockout or lockdown is taking place at their student’s school, we want you to know the safety of every student and staff member is our number one priority in those moments. I witnessed again and again today the calm and efficient reactions of our staff and administrators. During a lockout or lockdown, parents can help us by allowing us to keep our focus on what is happening on the campus. Please do not come to the school for any reason. Students will not be released until the situation is resolved, and no exceptions will be made. 

We recognize this has been a prolonged time of increased stress for students and families. This stress has led to an increase in mental health concerns for youth and adults. Our staff and community agencies are working to support student mental health and we know families are working hard to support their children as well. Statewide data tells us that youth suicide is a significant concern, and that it is preventable. We can all look for warning signs in the students we care about. 

If you are concerned about a student, please reach out to your school counselor for additional support. While you support your children at home and in the community, we can wrap support around them in the school setting. If you have an immediate concern, call 911 and/or access the following resources: 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1 (800) 273-8255

24 Hour Mental Health Crisis Line 1 (800) 584-3578

Preventing youth suicide - tips for parents and educators (English)

Preventing youth suicide - tips for parents and educators (Spanish)

Ten Things Parents Can Do to Prevent Suicide 

Making A Difference – Helping Other People Everywhere, Youth Suicide Prevention

Washington State Department of Health Suicide Prevention 

 We are so incredibly grateful to the brave students who came forward and cooperated with the investigation today. We want to remind everyone there is an anonymous system in place for reporting safety concerns to the district. They can be reported through the Crisis Resources page on our website or by sending a text message to 844-201-8732. 

On behalf of our staff and students I would like to extend our thanks to the Blaine Police Department and all the law enforcement partners in our community. The response we received today was swift, and the cooperation was unparalleled. I have great confidence in our law enforcement community’s preparedness to respond to emergencies on our campuses and am deeply grateful to everyone who participated today. 

This evening our staff continues to review the events of the day and learn what we can do better next time. There is always room for improvement, and I, for one, am grateful we had this opportunity to improve our processes. Most of all I am incredibly grateful that every one of our students and staff members went home to their families tonight. That makes it a great night to be a Borderite, and, as always, a great night to be your superintendent. 


Dr. Christopher Granger
Every Student. Every Day. In a New Way!