REDMOND - School districts across Western Washington are putting themselves in the shoes of school officials in L.A.
“It’s hard shutting down an entire school district - we always want kids to be in school and learning,” Lake Washington Public Schools spokesperson Kathryn Reith said.
It’s not uncommon to find threats on social media, but an email threat from another country is rare.
“Things are changing," Reith said. "You never know where the next issue will come from."
That's why the Lake Washington school district is always seeking new ways to improve their crisis management.
“Where are the places we can get better, where can we learn what’s going on in other places,”Reith said.
If there is a threat, the first thing Lake Washington school administrators ask themselves is this:
“Is it something that’s immediate, or is it something that is for the future?” Reith said.
If it’s deemed an immediate threat, Lake Washington Schools will issue an evacuation or lockdown. Within 15 mnutes, the district’s headquarters in Redmond will notify all parents about the threat.
“We are going to air on the side of safety in every case,” Reith said.
And they leave it up to law enforcement to deem a threat credible or not.
“I think we are entering into a different time, so to speak, especially after the San Bernardino shootings,” Redmond police officer Thomas Goepfert said.
But Goepfert emphasized the public should not be paranoid but just prepared.
“It can happen anywhere it can absolutely happen anywhere,” Goepfert said.
Tiffany Beck just moved from L.A. to Seattle this year, and she has friends impacted by the school closures. She worries the threats will get worse and more frequent.
But she is determined to not allow those concerns to affect her life.
“They want us to be scared, and if we give in to that it’s not who we are, we are a strong nation - we have to stay that way,” Beck said.
Lake Washington schools are hoping they never have to make the tough call to cancel classes, but they are prepared if they have to.
“If it means keeping kids safe, sometimes we have to do those things,” Reith said