Seattle Public Schools gives timeline on safety review, launches anonymous tip line

Seattle Public Schools said a district-wide safety review announced in the wake of the deadly shooting at Ingraham High School last fall will be complete by the end of the year or early 2024.

It comes as SPS is debuting a new app that gives students a way of providing anonymous tips about safely concerns

Make Gallitelli, whose daughter is now a sophomore at Ingraham, said she first heard about the app last year but didn’t know if it had launched.

“I want more information on how this app specifically works,” she said.

In a June safety update on SPS’s website, the district directed parents to “open your phone’s app store and search the name of the SPS high school.”

“I searched Ingraham High School and nothing came out,” KIRO 7 reporter Linzi Sheldon told SPS Chief Operation Officer Fred Podesta.

“Did you search Edward S. Ingraham?” Podesta asked.

“No, I did not,” Sheldon said.

But that didn’t work either.

After the interview with KIRO 7, SPS changed the wording to instruct families to search for “Seattle Public Schools” and added a link on that page where families can download the app directly.

In the dropdown menu is a choice for Tip Line, which allows someone to provide information and even a photo.

Podesta said signs at schools have a QR code to help students download the app.

Anonymous tips, he said, go to school leaders and safety and security officials.

“You don’t have to sign in,” he said. “You don’t have to register.”

“How do you ensure that that information is safe? What’s the guarantee you can give to families?” Sheldon asked.

“You know, we work with our technology folks,” Podesta said. “As you know, we work on all our cybersecurity kind of issues to make sure we are we comfortable with this app.”

Superintendent Brent Jones announced a district-wide safety review one day after the deadly shooting at Ingraham Nov. 8, 2022.

“When will that be complete?” Sheldon asked.

“We’re hoping to get that all done by the end of the calendar year or early 2024,” Podesta said.

Podesta said they’ve been reviewing training on preventative measures and emergency responses.

“Is SPS, in this timeline, by the end of this calendar year, going to look at how these policies are implemented at every campus?” Sheldon asked.

“Yes, and on the procedural level, we already have,” Podesta said. “You know, that we’re working with our regional executive directors of schools. We built that into training. We’re working with principals because things like, are you sure everybody’s wearing badges? Are you sure that nobody is propping doors open? One visit doesn’t work.”

School districts around Western Washington say improving safety is a constant effort.

For example, in Federal Way Schools this year, all schools have safety enhancements like fencing and cameras. It’s an effort that was completed last year

In Kent schools, the district is increasing electronic access control locks and if a levy is approved this fall, the district will upgrade intrusion alarm systems in every school.

In the Northshore School District, its final school is expected to get security cameras this winter.

In Everett Public Schools, the district is implementing “Run-Hide-Fight” training for all staff and will be holding community meetings about adding security fencing to the two remaining schools that don’t have it.

The Bethel School District added 3M Protective Window Film to a high school and elementary school and will be adding it to another high school soon.

The Edmonds School District will complete several fencing projects around some of its older buildings.

Tacoma Public Schools added new camera devices, intercom systems, and entry-card badge readers to 18 schools last year.

The Puyallup School District is installing vestibules, which add another layer of protection by requiring people to be buzzed in, to 10 more schools.

The Lake Washington School District is reallocating unspent dollars from its SRO budget to behavioral health because, the district said, partner agencies weren’t able to staff all the budgeted positions. That money replaces an expiring grant that allowed the district to expand from half-time to full-time behavioral health specialists at its middle schools and choice high schools.

Comments on this article