Issaquah High School evacuated after student discovers ‘word of concern’

October 18, 2011

By Tom Corrigan

NEW — 4:05 p.m. Oct. 18, 2011

Issaquah school officials said Issaquah High School was temporarily evacuated and shut down mid-afternoon Tuesday after a student found what was described by Sara Niegowski, district executive director of communications, as a “word of concern” in a school restroom.

Niegowski said with an investigation still under way, the district would not be releasing any further information.

Issaquah police were called in to the school, but police officials did not immediately return a phone call asking for comment.

In an email addressed to the Issaquah High School community and released at about 3:15 p.m., Principal Paula Phelps said a student reported finding “writing on the wall of a bathroom that raised concern” at about the end of the school’s sixth period.

Niegowski said the writing consisted of a single word.

“The message was very nonspecific in nature,” Phelps continued.

She added that school officials immediately notified police.

Further, Phelps said “out of an abundance of caution,” officials decided to evacuate the school. She noted that most students already were gone for the day, but some after-school activities were taking place.

Once an all-clear was sounded, activities resumed as normal, Phelps said.

“I want to reassure you: Administrators found nothing out of the ordinary,” she continued. “However, when it comes to student welfare, we always err on the side of extreme caution.”

Like Niegowski, Phelps said that because an investigation is under way, no further information would be released.

She asked any students or parents who might have information on the incident to contact the school.

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