Seattle Schools on Lockdown Because a Thief is in the Neighborhood

Readers — Just another note from the frontlines of our freaking-out country! Got this yesterday:  


Dear Free-Range Kids: I found this story, currently going on in my greater neighborhood as I type this, incredibly alarmist. A little background: I live in a nice, average neighborhood in Seattle. We have a neighborhood blog that sometimes beats the drum of  1) call the cops on strangers, 2) never answer the door. If that is the suggestion to able adults, you can imagine how crazy we get with children.
Anyhow, story is, someone wanted on a warrant for theft is on the loose. They think he is in a neighborhood, but hasn’t been spotted by anyone, and especially not by any schools. Meanwhile, several schools go into lockdown and parents freak out.
I’m at a loss here. I assume that there are probably criminals in all areas from time to time, but  I don’t live my life in fear. – Krystal
Lenore again: You don’t live in fear? How un-American!  Here’s one of the 100+ comments on the blog post:
For those of you asking why the schools are on lockdown, I have a child in one of those schools. I would much rather have the schools be OVERLY-cautious, than UNDER-cautious. You have no idea what this man might be capable of.
And so it goes in Nothing-Is-Safe-Enough-EVER land! – L


If only we could live our whole lives on lockdown, think how safe we’d be! 

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59 Responses to Seattle Schools on Lockdown Because a Thief is in the Neighborhood

  1. Jenny Islander March 6, 2013 at 12:27 pm #

    Just theft, not armed robbery? This is just like that police notice to take your kids out of the car at the gas station because your car might be jacked at the pump and then the carjacker would be tempted to do terrible things to anybody in the backseat. It’s like, “Hum de doo, swiping jewelry from unlocked houses, leaving a store with a dozen smart phones in my parka, riding somebody’s expensive bike out of the neighborhood . . . hey, look, a school! Full of cameras and eyewitnesses, with a campus cop! I guess I’ll cap off my afternoon with some kidnapping or a shooting spree, whee!”

  2. lollipoplover March 6, 2013 at 12:39 pm #

    Are they worried he’s going to steal school supplies? We you shouldn’t because their aren’t any!

    After pastry gun counseling, I bet someone just spotted a raccoon.

  3. pentamom March 6, 2013 at 12:50 pm #

    Unless you live in Munchkinland or the Emerald City (or in a place with very low population density), odds are that there is someone wanted on a warrant within 1/2 mile of you at some point EVERY SINGLE DAY. This is nuts.

  4. Merrick March 6, 2013 at 1:00 pm #

    He’s wanted for THEFT… not a violent crime, right?

  5. Diane S. March 6, 2013 at 1:06 pm #

    The ridiculousness is here in rural s. Texas. a friend was going to one school to pick up her preschooler, when her name tag blew off & away (we had heavy winds that day). She had to stand for 10 minutes outside a locked door, while the teacher she knew, and her daughter were inside the door, waiting for the administration to unlock the door and her give her ID to get another tag. This made her late to pick up her other daughter at the other school about 10 blocks away.

    Reminds me of our local HS here, a girl shot herself in the bathroom a few years back, but they didn’t go all crazy, the security is still the same.. walk in the door & go to the office, same as always. Houston news was down here all over the road for the day.

    Lock down the school because a thief is in the area? yeah.. thieves always think to go into schools…they’re just jonesin to get caught!

  6. JJ March 6, 2013 at 1:11 pm #

    You have no idea what this man might be capable of.

    Well couldn’t that be said of ANYBODY? And in that case why stop with a temporary lockdown.

  7. BL March 6, 2013 at 1:16 pm #

    “For those of you asking why the schools are on lockdown, I have a child in one of those schools. I would much rather have the schools be OVERLY-cautious, than UNDER-cautious. You have no idea what this man might be capable of”

    Nobody should be allowed within five miles of a school, ever.

    That includes the students and staff.

    Problem solved!

  8. Jo March 6, 2013 at 1:17 pm #

    The one time my high school did go on lock down (10 years ago) was because a man had robbed a store down the road and decided to hide out in the school. He didn’t hurt anyone (rumor had it he told the class in the room he was in they should make good life choices) and the cops came and arrested him. Good use of lock down once he was in the school, and they did change the policy of having all doors unlocked all the time after that. It would be silly to do it every time a thief might be nearby.

  9. LRH March 6, 2013 at 1:37 pm #

    I left a comment critical of the hysteria. I expect to be scolded. Oh well.

    The usual rebuttal–“you don’t have children in school, well if you did, you’d understand.” Guess what–I DO have a child in school. Oh, but if that was sometime ago, “well things have changed since Hoover was president.” Um, no, I have a girl in school RIGHT NOW. “Well you must not care about your girls’ safety, what kind of a parent are you?”

    One who values community over hysteria, that’s what kind.

    As I stated–I much prefer the culture of our school. I did notice today there was a police officer present in the parking lot, they’re there every other day I’m told, but that’s been the only change. My daughter forgot her backpack, as I was headed in that direction the officer replied, in a very charming and light-hearted way, “someone forgot their backpack huh?” And this officer, unlike others at the school, has never seen me before, but was that casual about it.

    [sarcasm on] Oh, but hey–I could be hiding bombs & pistols in that backpack. You better frisk me! You never know!! [sarcasm off]

    I let the front desk lady know–by the way, no locked doors, I just walked into the office & I’m mere inches from her–and showed her my daughter’s backyard, and as usual, the reply: “okay, you can go on back there.” No need for a badge, ID, escort, metal detectors, zilch.

    Meanwhile several of the kids saw me and recognized me as the girl’s dad, and greeted me warmly as such.

    Sure beats being cold & distrustful towards everyone, don’t you think?


  10. Anne Campbell March 6, 2013 at 1:39 pm #

    To be fair, if you read the article, it says that the man was convicted of attacking someone with a beer bottle and a tire iron a while back. He’s now on some kind of unspecified drugs – severely enough that he was taken to the hospital for it.

    I’m not paranoid, and my daughter is a free-range kid – but if that dude were loose in my neighborhood, I’d be more than happy to have the school kids stay indoors.

  11. Dave March 6, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

    In my crowded neighborhood in Brooklyn I am relatively sure there are a number of criminals walking around every day. If we locked down because there was a criminal in the neighborhood we would never be open. This idea is just ridiculous.

  12. CrazyCatLady March 6, 2013 at 1:54 pm #

    Does anyone say if the schools were in critical lock down or non-critical lock down?

    Non critical they lock the doors and have the kids stay inside for recess. (Being Seattle it was probably raining anyhow., not that that usually stops kids from going outside.) Otherwise, the kids keep doing their school work and stay out of the way of any police action that may (or may not) be going on.

    If it was critical,that is the turn out the lights and hide. Which seems like a really poor way to spend the day.

  13. Amanda Matthews March 6, 2013 at 2:00 pm #

    The quoted woman is so right; I mean, that monster could steal a child’s iPhone!!

    And think about it, if he already broken the law by being a thief, he’s obviously going to graduate to being a child molester next!

    And heck, he’s a MAN – why haven’t we outlawed that yet!? Schools should be on lock down anytime a man comes into the neighborhood!!

    Won’t anyone think of the children?!?!

  14. buffy March 6, 2013 at 2:50 pm #

    “Does anyone say if the schools were in critical lock down or non-critical lock down?”

    This is how far we’ve come in turning our schools into prisons – levels of lockdown?


  15. Warren March 6, 2013 at 2:56 pm #

    Can tell you one thing, I would never live there. Not because of the thief……..the residents are whacked. The comments are just insane.

    As for the lockdown, it wasn’t just locking the doors. Teaching had been suspended. One commentor said their daughter talked about the lockdown when she got home. They got to read.

    God bless the USA, cause we all know they need it more now than ever.

  16. lollipoplover March 6, 2013 at 2:56 pm #

    He escaped from police handcuffed.
    His mugshot makes me think he’s headed to a White Castle, not a school (not that he could even open a door…). But we can never, ever be too safe. Lockdown everything.

  17. Gina March 6, 2013 at 3:15 pm #


    If there’s a warrant out that means he hasn’t been convicted yet.

    If it’s for theft, that means they don’t even suspect him of a violent crime, nor a crime involving children.

    If there was a person on the loose in the area who had been convicted of kidnapping and child sex trafficking, then I could understand the worry. But… theft? Lock your car doors and don’t leave iPads on the front porch.

  18. Alex Berman March 6, 2013 at 3:49 pm #

    Theft?! This does feel like an overreaction by the school to escalate things to lockdown over theft. Not to belittle any crime, but if this guy was wanted for theft and not assault, theft involving violence, armed robbery or any other level of crime which would be seen to pose a threat to children and their teachers, then where was the bennefit in stopping lessons for a day and teaching kids that something like theft should cause their world to grind to a complete halt?

    The chances are these kids will face bigger problems or risks in their lives and they’ll rarely be offered the shelter & protection of a lockdown if/when that happens!

  19. Lisa March 6, 2013 at 4:26 pm #

    Lenore, I normally love your blog, but I feel you misrepresented the situation here. If you read up on the case, the man in question ESCAPED from police custody after he was arrested. He pretended that he had swallowed a bag of heroin in order to get taken to the hospital, and used that set-up to escape.

    Also, although the man *was* wanted for theft, he also had a past history of third degree assault–including attacking someone with a tire iron and beer bottle–in the exact community where the lockdown happened.

    I’m not saying that locking down the schools was the right move here, but at least be honest and say that a violent fugitive with a history in the community was on the loose.

  20. Amanda Matthews March 6, 2013 at 5:08 pm #

    There are people with past histories of assault on the loose every day. Unless he had a gripe with one of the students or teachers at the schools, I still feel it was an overreaction. I see no reason to believe he was *currently* violent.

    If we’re going to lock down schools every time some such person is know to be on the loose, we’ll have to drop the façade and permanently lock everyone under 25 in their schools. They’re already spending the majority of their waking time in these jails, might as well make them a little “safer” by removing the aspect of parents taking them home for a few hours and bringing them back. Think of all the money they’ll save by not fingerprinting, doing background checks on, giving IDs to, etc. etc. parents.

  21. Michelle March 6, 2013 at 5:10 pm #

    “For those of you asking why the schools are on lockdown, I have a child in one of those schools. I would much rather have the schools be OVERLY-cautious, than UNDER-cautious. You have no idea what this man might be capable of.”

    Yeah, but I also have no idea what YOU might be capable of! I don’t know you! You’re a total stranger; you might be ANYBODY!

    OMG, I can’t believe they let you have a child!! WHO KNOWS WHAT YOU MIGHT DO???

  22. RobC March 6, 2013 at 5:30 pm #

    “You have no idea what this man might be capable of.”

    You have no idea what *I* might be capable of. Especially if you keep saying stupid crap like this.

  23. pentamom March 6, 2013 at 5:33 pm #

    “There are people with past histories of assault on the loose every day.”

    Precisely. This guy was known to be *in the neighborhood.* they had no specific reason to believe he was going to target the school. I mean, seriously, if you’re fleeing the cops, the first place you’re going to run is A BUILDING FULL OF PEOPLE?

    And I hope I don’t need to point out that if he had been under arrest a short time before, the likelihood that he was armed was EXTREMELY small.

    “in the exact community where the lockdown happened. ”

    Meaning somewhere in West Seattle? Where tens of thousands of people live? I assure you that there is, at this moment, someone running around within an area that large of the city I live in, who has committed violence with a weapon against another person at some time in the past. Does that put me in immediate danger? Should the schools just be closed down FOREVER, because there are ALWAYS going to be bad guys running around, who have done dangerous things in the past and *might* do something dangerous to avoid capture?

  24. Krystal March 6, 2013 at 5:43 pm #

    Thanks for sharing the story! Yes, it’s true he had an assault history in the past, but I assume that there may be others with assault history roaming the streets from time to time, and some of them may even be parents. The point is for me is that the common theme seems to be “you have no idea of what this man might be capable of” requires schools to go into lockdown. Truth is, we don’t know, or we do know, what people are capable of.

    As a child, a family member of mine was targeted by someone, shot and then the suspect was on the loose in my small community. As the investigated unfolded, we realized he had intentions of harming our entire family. This being a small community, and all anyone was talking about, the police quietly came to our school, I was called to the office, and my parents thought it would be best for me to go to a friend’s house since it was more private, and the suspect knew us well enough to know where we could be. The school didn’t go on lockdown, the police didn’t come to the classroom, and the rest of my classmates weren’t alarmed by the situation. I feel if this would happen now, the school would be in lockdown, police would block off the area, and the children would be alerted to a danger not directed at them. How my situation was handled (4th) grade, kept me calm and sane during a time when I had severely injured family members. I’m beyond grateful for how my situation was handled.

    The idea that we need to have a lock-down, stop teaching, and change our course of normal life for someone out on a warrant for theft is baffling.

  25. Peter March 6, 2013 at 6:23 pm #

    If there’s a warrant out that means he hasn’t been convicted yet.

    But the police think he did, which is why there’s a warrant.

    Obviously, if he didn’t do it, why would the police issue a warrant? 😀

  26. Donald March 6, 2013 at 7:05 pm #

    I’m appalled however I also think it’s good news.

    Have you heard the term, “Give em enough rope and they will hang themselves?” The hysterical nuts are taking all the rope they can get. I think it’s funny when end up looking like the nut cases that they are trying to protect children from.

    Lets watch these people. You don’t know what they are capable of. They shouldn’t be allowed near children. They might hear a kid cough and they assume it’s a death choke and perform the Heimlich Maneuver. AN INNOCENT COUGH COULD RESULT IN A BROKEN RIB!

    These people aren’t safe

  27. mollie March 6, 2013 at 7:22 pm #

    When people get triggered, especially when they are drunk, high, or in close relationship with someone (or all of the above), well, assault can happen.

    My guess is this guy didn’t assault a random person on the street (or a classroom full of supervised children) with a broken beer bottle or a tire iron. It was probably someone he knew previously. Almost all violent crime is that way. It’s relationships gone bad, not random strangers hurting each other for no reason. Muggings are less common than domestic assault, for example.

    Anyway, this reminds me of the “cougar sighting” (in quotes, because there was no cougar confirmed) that send my kids’ school into lockdown, and even after the police gave the “all clear,” the children were not released from school at the end of the day without a parental escort. Because… well… you know… anything could happen.

    That’s right. Anything could happen, any day of the week. The kids weren’t any more or less likely that day to be attacked by a cougar, so quit messing with their right to move about freely. Same goes for this case, and “We don’t know what he might be capable of.” Nor do you know what any parent a child goes home with at the end of the day is capable of, regardless of their criminal record.

    Ah, humans… we love predictability. Here’s a way to have it all the time: life is predictably unpredictable. You can count on it. There. Problem solved.

  28. yan March 6, 2013 at 8:13 pm #

    When everything, no matter how small, is a crisis, we lose our ability to comprehend and act in a real crisis.

    A woman died because a person was not able to act responsibly in a crisis.

    As a middle aged male, I see the frozen look of fear on many young women’s faces when we pass on the sidewalk. Eyes straight ahead, no expression on their faces, not making eye contact or looking right or left, just marching as fast as they can to avoid “stranger danger”. If I smile and say Hello they march faster. Fear rules.

    These are the faces of women who have been brought up in this stew of “everything is dangerous at all times”.

  29. Elisabeth March 6, 2013 at 8:19 pm #

    i would love to see this Onion headline: “Elementary School students put on permanent lockdown because…well, you never know…”

  30. Lisa March 6, 2013 at 8:44 pm #

    To be clear, I don’t think the school should’ve been on lockdown…I just think it’s important to report clearly and accurately on the situation. Fugitive with violence past on the loose. I’m afraid we lose credibility when we inappropriately characterize the situation as a mere thief. A little more journalistic integrity is in order.

  31. Donna March 6, 2013 at 8:55 pm #

    “he also had a past history of third degree assault–including attacking someone with a tire iron and beer bottle–in the exact community where the lockdown happened.”

    Yes, in November 2006 – 6.5 years prior to this incident. Good grief. If we locked down schools every time someone with a conviction for a violent crime in the past MAY be in the general vicinity, many schools would be on lockdown constantly. The school my daughter attended in the US certainly would have been.

    The fact is that schools were locked down “though there is no report at this point that he was seen anywhere near a school.” So basically this suspected thief is somewhere in a city, and, of course, the first thing we think of is that he is going to go to a school?

    “My two main concerns having this guy out, anywhere by now, is that he could’ve followed a child home to an empty house after school or stolen a car and made his getaway.”

    This was my favorite comment. Way to delve into worst case thinking (not the stolen car thing) because, of course all criminals on the run follow home unsuspecting children and … do what, I don’t know.

  32. Lori March 6, 2013 at 9:53 pm #

    This strikes me as funny, because school districts here cancelled school for yesterday the NIGHT BEFORE based on forecasts. Someone noted that they thought it was ridiculous because we hadn’t even seen any snow yet, but THIS is the kind of thing I PREFER our schools be concerned with: an actual, likely-to-occur event that has a higher likelihood of leaving kids (and adults) stranded away from home, and possibly out on the road. Guess what? We DID receive several inches of snow, and the roads were crap because it was coming down too fast to keep up with.

    Locking down school because someone is loose SOMEWHERE, and the cops are looking for him? Please, there were two escaped convicts loose in Chicagoland not too long ago and I don’t recall there being a spate of lockdowns, possibly one in the city one man had been seen in, but not widespread panic like this over a non-violent thief!

  33. Henry Crun March 7, 2013 at 4:28 am #

    Time for the American National Anthem to be rewritten. The US is no longer the Land of the Free nor the Home of the Brave

  34. Ben March 7, 2013 at 4:30 am #

    I don’t understand the concept of lockdown. If a potentially dangerous person is inside the school, shouldn’t you open up all the doors to get kids and staff to safety?

    Lockdown would be my last thought.

  35. pentamom March 7, 2013 at 9:15 am #

    Well, in this case, they didn’t think the person was already inside the school, but that he might come in.

    Which was absurd. A dangerous person might come into a school, it’s true, but there was NOTHING in this guy’s profile to indicate he was likely to come into a school to wreak havoc, in fact quite the opposite. He was fleeing the police and probably didn’t want to be noticed, at all.

    Of course, if you believe the mythology that dangerous people would rather hole up in a school and threaten children (which happens only a tiny, tiny, tiny percentage of the time) than run and hide, it’s not so unlikely. (And the percentage of the time where they’re not setting out to wreak havoc in a school in the first place, but then do it anyway, is probably so close to zero as to be mathematically non-existent.) But school officials have no right to be so stupid as to believe that kind of mythology.

  36. Captain America March 7, 2013 at 9:36 am #

    I was struck by Yan’s comment; this has happened to me, the whole “pass by a young woman on the sidewalk” thing. Some act as if you’re ready to go wild on her with a machete or something.

    I usually wear khakis and a collared shirt. No camo or dingy raincoat, etc., nothing decrepit or fear-inducing, as far as I can tell. Pretty much the “Dad” look.

    I wasn’t raised to quiver with fear at strangers and I can’t raise my son to this level of social fright.

  37. Lola March 7, 2013 at 9:48 am #

    I wonder… Wouln’t it be less time-consuming just to cram all the children in those safe, well-protected and inexpugnable prisons and leave the vulnerable streets, schools, parks and such to the obviously criminal adults? And be done with it.

  38. CrazyCatLady March 7, 2013 at 10:33 am #

    Pentamom, I bet that this level of scaredness has a lot to do with two officers who were shot and killed in Santa Cruz, CA, last week.

    The officers went to the house of a man who had been brought in the previous week for something non violent. Unknown to them, he was I think trained to be a police officer and he had decided that there was no way he was going to go back to jail. So the officers came to the door, he answered, went in for a moment, came out the other door and shot both officers and killed them. Afterwards it came out that his family was very scared that something like this would happen.

    I don’t know all the facts in this Seattle case. I don’t agree with putting kids on lock down unless they might be in the way of gunfire or emergency equipment (like when a child severely broke his leg at school one day.)

    Unfortunately, due to all the stupid non-gun gun shaped things incidents lately, I can’t tell if this is stupid acting, or smart.

  39. pentamom March 7, 2013 at 12:20 pm #

    Even so, CrazyCatLady, to extrapolate from the one to the other is just a sign of the problem.

    Shooting at cops who are coming to arrest you is just a whole different thing from running AWAY from the cops and then INTO a situation where you’re more vulnerable because you’re surrounded by people. People will occasionally do the flee-the-cops-and-barricade-themselves somewhere thing, but it’s almost always their own home or the home of a family member or acquaintance. It’s rarely a building full of hundreds of people.

    Cops get shot at by crazies who don’t want to be taken in every now and then, including when the suspect doesn’t have a record of violence. It’s unfortunate, and horrible, and is one of those reasons why most people don’t want to be cops. But to think that such incidents have ANYTHING to do with whether a guy with a warrant who is running from the cops is MORE or LESS likely to try to enter a school and cause some kind of trouble is just not clear thinking. (I don’t think you’re defending the thinking, just describing it, but still, it makes me want to rant. ;)) My guess is that a guy trying to evade the cops is statistically LESS likely to run into a school and do something harmful than the average person!

  40. JJ March 7, 2013 at 1:19 pm #

    Having killed time on my pm commute reading the direct comments on the linked article above (don’t worry, I wasn’t driving!) I am struck with the thought that for many people today, love=protection at all costs. It is not a new idea on this site that our culture seems to reflect the idea that if it saves only one child, no precautionary measure is ever (EVER!) too much. Further, if you question any precautionary measure, or if you take measured risks as a parent (letting your kid walk to school for example), then you simply don’t love your kid as much as other parents.

    I have been thinking about families throughout history. 1,000 years ago or even 125 years ago, lots of kids died—from accidents, disease, war—no family was spared. It wasn’t uncommon for Colonial American families to lose 2/3 of their offspring children. I don’t know if this means that they loved the kids less, but I do think they mourned them less and I would think they would have to guard against getting so attached to their children. Maybe they did treasure them less. So don’t jump all over me PLEASE but I am wondering if we DO protect our children more today than in the past because we DO love them more? Or has childhood death become so uncommon that we now perceive it as preventable v. inevitable and therefore we must prevent it at all costs? Do we give ourselves permission to love or kids more because we are pretty sure we won’t lose them? I don’t know. It is interesting to wonder how all this plays into our culture.

    For the record I do not think that protection at all costs=love, and I do not live my life that way.

  41. hineata March 7, 2013 at 2:08 pm #

    @Yan and Captain America – that sort of thing is really disturbing, isn’t it? But it seems to be being overtly taught to women.

    We had a self-defence instructor come to our Guide unit last year, and in amongst some very practical advice, she seemed to be instructing the girls to think that all men walking down the road toward them were potential threats to their safety. I had to point out to the girls that, actually, 99.9 % of men walking down the road were, in fact, oh wow, just walking down the road…..

    Really sick, to teach fear of half the population. Particularly when at least half of small group of ‘dangerous’ people I have known have been women. And I suspect I wouldn’t be alone in that.

  42. hineata March 7, 2013 at 2:30 pm #

    Back to the ‘lockdown’ thing, is there any element of a love of ‘drama’ in the whole thing? In other words, are school administrators and teachers bored? Because a lockdown must have some element of excitement to it…
    and really, why else would you lock down a whole school for a possible sighting of a thief?

    I wish, again, that we had the tiniest amount of the excitement y’all seem to experience on a daily basis (at least, with all the ‘wonderful’ stories we keep reading all over the net!). The one time we had had an actual armed and murderous criminal running around the hills above our house, it was school holidays, and we didn’t realise they were still looking for others, so the kids still got to play down at the school playground and wave at the army helicopters flying overhead…..And, like here in this instance, nothing happened anyway.

  43. Tr March 7, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

    What he’s capable of? Ha ha I guess he is capable of stealing your kids lunch money…but not wo getting caught

  44. Donna March 7, 2013 at 7:21 pm #

    @hineata – I do think there is a drama element to the whole thing. Something big is brewing and everyone wants to be a part of it. My guess is that this is also a very safe Seattle suburb and people panic over the littlest things.

    Now in my inner city hometown with all its crime, we’ve had a district-wide lockdown once. A man, who was just released from prison after serving 10 years for armed robbery and was now suspected of murder, kidnapped a man in connection to that murder and, when stopped by police, shot two cops, killing one and injuring the other, jacked a car and took off.

    While I thought it was slight overkill to lockdown the schools nowhere near where this happened, we did have a man who was definitely armed and dangerous being hunted by many, many police officers from around the state who really wanted to shoot first and ask questions later so not a good scene and a high risk of innocent people getting caught in the crossfire.

    The only other lockdowns we’ve had have been localized to one school and reflected something actively occurring in that neighborhood. Most of them seemed ridiculous to me but all involved acts of violence in the general area of the school.

  45. MT March 7, 2013 at 8:17 pm #

    Trust me, Hineata, teachers do not call lockdowns because they’re bored. Huddling on the floor in the dark in a classroom with a bunch of teenagers is not fun. I’d rather be teaching. Teachers do not call lockdowns, administrators do, or the local police.

    Oh, and by the way, in my nine years of teaching, we’ve never had a real lockdown in my school, only the twice yearly practices that are mandated by the board to conform to the policy set out by the police department. Despite all the crazy stories, the majority of schools, at least around here, seem to be sensible when it comes to lockdowns and other security measures. We spend way more time practicing for fire drills than lockdowns, but I think twice a year to practice in case of a real emergency is reasonable.

    The only security measures we have in our school is a sign at the front door directing visitors to start their visit to the school at the office.

  46. hineata March 7, 2013 at 10:26 pm #

    MT – glad to hear it! Even drills seem a bit over the top, but I suppose we have to conform to the odd regulation, and twice-yearly doesn’t sound too ominous….You make a good point about teenagers, too. Have just gotten off a bus filled with highschoolers, and the smell of adolescent boy ‘socks’ is enough to make one gag…. :-)

    I teach primary school, (where students tend not to be so smelly!) and while the job is generally interesting, there are times when I could imagine a little excitement could spice things up. We teachers here in my city tend to do that by injuring ourselves spectacularly in front of our student bodies, but the odd lockdown would provide a little variety, with less actual pain to ourselves, LOL!

    @Donna – that one big lockdown does sound within the realms of common sense. It does seem sensible to keep the general public away from trigger-happy cops etc. That sort of hunt probably does get the blood going.

  47. Kristen March 8, 2013 at 8:36 am #

    Yan/Capt America/Hineata… I’ve noticed this from the other side. As a woman walking alone, I am almost never looked at or greeted by a man or group of men walking by me, even if I offer up a cheery greeting.

    As I mentioned once to Yan, I keep a mental tally of this. Most women will say hello back, but even they tend to be my age or older… fewer of the “stranger-danger” inculcated youth respond. About half of men of my own race (white) will respond if I speak first, but only a small handful will say anything first… those tend to be older men. The percentages drop to even more dismal levels for men of other races or ethnicities. I am sure there are many factors at play, but I expect that fear- and fear of fear- have to be high up on the list.

    If all men are predators-in-waiting, all women must be victims(or accusers)-in-waiting. I find that offensive on behalf of everyone. It’s ridiculous.

  48. Sarah March 8, 2013 at 11:40 am #

    From my local understanding of this situation-the schools were locked down because it was dismissal time and the police were using canine dogs to search for the subjects. This is a walking school area and they did not want the children walking home while the canine dogs were out.

  49. Donna March 8, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

    @Sarah – That is the complete opposite of what was reported. The paper reports schools going on lockdown noonish – well before dismissal time. It also states specifically that all kids were dismissed as usual. It also encompassed at least 6-7 schools and I doubt canine units were out in that many neighborhoods looking for one man (and, if they were, you have way too many canine units).

  50. pentamom March 8, 2013 at 2:15 pm #

    JJ — I wouldn’t conclude either that Colonial parents necessarily were less attached to their children, or that we protect them more because we love them more. No doubt some people did resist becoming attached for that reason, but I wouldn’t assume it was universal. Martin Luther, who lived a century before the American colonies got rolling, was famously devastated when his oldest daughter died at 13.

    What I might suggest is that we protect them more because we believe it is more within our power to prevent anything bad from happening them. A colonial parent might have been just as attached and just as grieved at the loss of a child, but was less likely to believe that such losses were preventable (because they weren’t.) We think that if we do everything right, losing our children is entirely preventable. We’re wrong, but we’re close enough to right to give the illusion that if we just “do enough,” we can be spared that kind of loss.

  51. GW March 9, 2013 at 2:01 am #

    I live in West Seattle myself, and it is a really safe place–but you’d never know it the way some of my neighbors react every time the blog (which is generally a pretty decent news source) reports an incident. The usual and automatic assumption is that crime is going up, even when you show them the law enforcement data that indicates otherwise; it never occurs to them that crime is simply better REPORTED than it used to be.

    I live in what’s considered a “bad” part of West Seattle and people are always asking me if I feel safe. Why yes, yes I do. You pretty much have to be trying to find a dangerous street in this city. The night I walked out of a martial arts class into an open-air drug market, now, THAT was a bit unnerving–but it wasn’t in West Seattle!

  52. M March 9, 2013 at 10:52 am #

    Statistically speaking, if you look at each of those schools, you will find PARENTS who have a “history of violence”. Parents who have been in a bar fight, domestic abuse, child abuse, anger issues, arrest records. If you looked at a neighborhood that large, you are likely to have a person on each block that has drug or alcohol issues, arrest records, etc.

    Seeing this man as a dangerous predator makes them feel safer, because he is an outsider. He looks different. The alcoholic, abusive man down the street who wears a shirt and tie looks just like they do, and that is scarier. The child predator who works at their child’s school seems so normal, and that is scarier.

    They prefer to fear the different, when the real danger comes from those who don’t appear different.

  53. Krystal March 9, 2013 at 4:40 pm #

    Hi GW! I really agree with you. WSBlog is a great source of news, but the overreaction by our neighbors is a bit much sometimes!

  54. Jenny Islander March 10, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

    If the criminal in this case was running away, possibly high on something, etc., then the sensible response is to lock the doors, put somebody with a cell phone at the main door at least, declare indoor recess in the gym, and otherwise go about the day as usual until the police declare that they got the guy. But unless he’s flying on something that makes him super stupid, he’s not going to try to hide in a school!

  55. Suzanne March 16, 2013 at 8:50 am #

    The absurdity of these lockdowns is out of control. I do not suggest going on your school’s facebook page and making any comments in opposition to lockdowns either, I’m pretty sure I am the most hated person at my kid’s school right now. Thursday they were on lockdown, a note was sent home that said folling an investigation it was determined that there was never any threat. I suggested that over use of these lockdowns will lead to students and faculty not taking them seriously and of course that means I am opposed to safety.

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