BB gun incident handled at Sequim High

Superintendent praises SHS administration for resolving situation quickly

A Sequim High School student was expelled from school after the student was found with a BB gun on March 2.

According to a statement sent to parents by SHS principal Shawn Langston that day, at 12:55 p.m. a student removed a pump action BB gun from a car in the school parking lot and showed it to other students. Witnesses reported the gun to school authorities and within minutes a counselor, school security officer, school resource officer and multiple administrators arrived at the scene, Langston said.

The BB gun, which Langston said appeared to be a genuine firearm, was confiscated.

Several police officers responded to the scene as well given the appearance of the BB gun, but no arrests were made.

Sequim schools superintendent Rob Clark declined to identify the student involved, but said that they had been given an emergency expulsion from SHS for their actions under the school’s zero-tolerance policy regarding firearms and weapons.

Clark spoke about an incident during a Sequim School district board of directors meeting on March 2. He praised Langston and staff for their quick and efficient response in handling the situation.

School calendars set

After reviews of multiple drafts over the last two months, the school calendar for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 academic years have been set after a 4-0 vote by the school board Monday night; school board president Brandino Gibson, on a pre-arranged trip, was not in attendance.

School will start before Labor Day both years as a consideration to the holiday falling slightly later than normal. Sequim’s spring break is aligned with the Port Angeles School District for both years after being one week off from Port Angeles’ schedule for several years.

November conferences will be two full days off rather than four half-days, as has been the schedule in recent years. There will also be two snow make up days — one in February and one in May — in an attempt avoid having to add days to the end of the school year following unplanned closures. A third make-up day is also set for the day after the school calendar ends.

Other business

• At Monday’s meeting, Clark said the school district’s unexpected drop in enrollment this school year means that next year’s budget will be tighter.

“There will not be as many employees next year as we had this year,” he said, though he did not specify what that reduction would look like.

Clark added that he’s hoping attrition, with some staff retiring or finding other jobs, will take care of the issue and layoffs will not be required.

• The school board heard a presentation from three groups of Olympic Peninsula Academy Students who were entrants in a recent Future Cities competition in Shoreline.

With a goal of designing a city to address water access concerns and building a model to reflect that plan, the three teams fared well, winning awards for Best Moving Component and Best Explanation of Features. Several of the students said that working on the project made them more interested in taking on engineering as a potential career path.

• During his report to his colleagues, board director Jim Stoffer noted that a previously inactive bill in the State House of Representatives that would allow for greater access to grant funding for smaller school districts like Sequim has been resurrected.

Stoffer said that he had been asked by the Educational Service District to contact state Rep. Steve Tharinger (D-Port Townsend) to help the process along, and that Tharinger helped the process of reviving the bill “significantly.” The bill’s passage is not guaranteed, Stoffer said but it’s back in play.

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