Released police reports detail assaults made on Spokane Public Schools’ campuses

SPOKANE, Wash. – Released police reports through a public records request detail assaults and threats that happened on Spokane Public Schools campuses, some of them being reported days after the incident.

On March 11, Spokane Police Chief Craig Meidl sent a letter to the school district saying it is not following protocol for not reporting assaults and threats on school campuses.

Spokane Public Schools responded to Meidl and said its leadership was not aware of any patterns or complaints. District leaders also asked police why it had not said anything or done anything sooner.

A few days after Meidl sent that letter to SPS, the Federal Bureau of Investigation sent an email to Spokane principals on March 15 asking them to come forward with any incidents and is now reviewing claims.

Following the FBI’s inquiry, the district sent another message to the press with a comment that the district’s legal counsel says the district is operating “with correct interpretation of mandatory reporting requirements.” The district also said it didn’t understand why law enforcement is doing an investigation rather than contacting them proactively.

“It is our understanding that not all student misconduct that occurs in a school setting is required to be reported as a crime,” the district’s statement said on March 17.

The district planned to have a press conference on Thursday to discuss its safety protocols that were put in place since 2015, however, it ended up canceling it. A district spokesperson said they couldn’t comment on the FBI review.

The statement from SPS said “upon completion of that review, we look forward to answering your questions.”

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: FBI possibly investigating SPS for unreported assaults in schools

RELATED: SPS responds to Spokane Police chief’s claim it isn’t following mandatory reporting procedures

According to police reports, some victims who filed said they did so because the district didn’t solve the issue.

An SPD crime intelligence analyst sent Meidl at least a dozen reports for him to review that “appeared to have clear, questionable reporting to police by the school district or had some potential elements of being questionable” that were either raised by the person making the report or a victim.

In a report dated January 27, a Ferris High School teacher told officers a student threatened to kill her on January 21. The police report detailed the student made that threat and pointed his hand in her direction “in a manner as if he’s holding a handgun.” The student ended up on expulsion.

In an email from Lt. Rich Meyer to the police chief, Meyer said the teacher wanted to press charges that day of the threat, but the report was filed six days later.

Meyer said officers who took the report were “under the impression” the school district needed to get permission from the district’s campus safety director or other school administrators before calling the police referencing “criminal activity as they are trying to keep things in house.”

In the email, Meyer said it appeared this was “one of those cases where permission is needed prior to contacting police.” He went on to say he has “great concern” with the district doing that because incidents could “escalate that will put students in great danger.” Meyer ended up calling the campus safety director Randy Moore for more information.

Moore said it was “not a marching order or directive given by him.” Moore told Meyer he didn’t know why the teacher felt the need to check for permission and that “he recognizes the issues of mixed messaging from SPS,” according to the email.

In another situation documented at Lewis and Clark High School on December 22, 2021, multiple female victims reported they were sexually assaulted a week prior to the police response. The district administrator told police about the incident on December 21, according to the report.

In the police report, when an officer talked to a victim’s parent, she said “this type of behavior has been occurring for the past couple of months on campus. The behavior has been reported to school administration each time and she feels like nothing has changed.”

On December 8, 2021, a family filed a police report about a girl being sexually assaulted on a bus leaving Sacajawea Middle School. The family told officers the assault happened on December 1st.

The police report says the family told the school about the incident and “the school stated they would address it” and remove the suspect from the bus. The family said the school did not do anything a week after the assault, so that’s why the victim “wanted the incident reported to law enforcement.”

When SPS canceled the Thursday press conference on Wednesday, the district said it couldn’t comment about situations under review by the FBI. Since Spokane Police made these allegations, SPS has not gone on camera to address the claims.

Spokane Police on Thursday also declined to comment about the overall investigation as FBI continues its review. These reports were acquired through a public records request.

You can view the Spokane Public School’s campus safety model here.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Spokane Police chief claims SPS isn’t following mandatory reporting procedure with threats, assaults at schools