KIRO 7 has obtained documents explaining what happened in the hours leading up to Todd Beamer High School's decision to evacuate students in March.
According to the police report, a student gave Todd Beamer High School Principal Anali Weatherhead a bag of fireworks on March 26th, but she kept them in her office and didn’t inform the school resource officer until the next day.
The officer, who is a Federal Way police officer assigned to the school, searched the bag and felt the contents warranted contacting the police department to investigate.
The documents say when officers later interviewed Weatherhead, she initially claimed not to know when the student gave her the bag, then later admitted she had lied. The principal also initially refused to tell officers the name of the student who gave her the bag, saying “he is a good kid,” according to the police report.
The statement goes on to say Weatherhead apologized for lying to the officer and not coming forward with the student’s name immediately. The student who brought the fireworks says he bought them from a group of kids for $200 after he heard them threatening to “light up the school.”
The bomb squad commander’s account says the bomb squad robot was deployed to X-ray the bag and discovered in addition to fireworks, there was an improvised aerial mortar which the officer collected for the Bureau of Alcohol and Tobacco.
The officers’ reports recommended charging Weatherhead with obstruction, however the Federal Way prosecutor declined. Chief Prosecutor Jennifer Castleton released a statement to KIRO 7 saying, in part:
“There are a number of matters of significant concern to me within the report regarding Ms. Weatherhead’s conduct. These include her significant delay in reporting the items recovered from the student to any law enforcement officer, the highly concerning fact that she admitted to lying to police about when she received the item, and her delay in providing all necessary information to the police as requested during the investigation.
“I am, however, declining to file criminal charges for obstruction at this time. This is because the conduct which relates to the possible obstruction charge is from a limited time period. Additionally, while she did not immediately given the requested information to the police, she provided somewhat of an explanation saying she needed to speak to the student first, rather than flatly refusing to give the information. Also, once the officer left her office, she came out shortly thereafter to provide the name of the student to police. Taking these factors into consideration, I believe that there would be issues proving the charge beyond a reasonable doubt at a trial. “
KIRO 7 also reached out to the Federal Way School District, which responded:
“Student safety is our highest priority in Federal Way Public Schools. We are aware of the concerns raised in the police report regarding the handling of this matter and are carefully reviewing all elements of the situation. We remain committed to assisting law enforcement in their continuous efforts to keep our students, staff, guests, and schools safe and appreciate their shared dedication. Since this is an ongoing investigation we should not and cannot comment further at this time."
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