ARLINGTON — A gym teacher at an Arlington elementary school was arrested this week, after telling another teacher he was “going to murder everyone’s children in the building and make them watch,” according to police reports filed in court Tuesday.
The other teacher reported he’d greeted Andrew Thomas Medley around 3:50 p.m. Thursday, in the gymnasium of Presidents Elementary School, the court papers say. Medley seemed agitated. The teacher asked how he was doing. Medley replied that he was not OK.
“I am going to murder everyone in the building,” he said, according to the police reports. “Scratch that, I am going to murder everyone’s children in the building and make them watch.”
Medley, 52, had gotten in trouble for making a sexual comment about little girls to other staffers, and he told the other teacher that the staff had betrayed him, according to the police reports. He was being placed on administrative leave for “inappropriate comments to school staff” and ordered not to return until he was told to come back, police wrote.
School staff called a non-emergency Arlington police number Friday to report the comment about murdering children. They were trying to reach a school resource officer, but he was off-duty. The call went nowhere.
Nobody at the school district called 911, Arlington spokeswoman Kristin Banfield said.
“When in doubt, and you’re kind of unsure, call 911,” she said.
On Monday morning, a school district staffer called police again about the threats. The school went into lockdown for all of Monday while police went to Medley’s home in Bellingham.
The gym teacher denied making a comment about wanting to harm anyone, but admitted he did say something about how he “wishes they have a ‘slow and painful death,’” court papers say. The documents don’t specify whose death he reportedly was discussing.
Medley was arrested for investigation of felony harassment. Arlington police booked him into Snohomish County Jail on Monday night.
Judge Tam Bui set bail Tuesday afternoon at $10,000 in Everett District Court. A public defender, Robert O’Neal, told the judge that Medley had been going through a challenging and stressful divorce.
School officials and police have talked about how to best handle threats like this in the future, Banfield said. Those conversations follow any serious incident, she said.
Gary Sabol, a school district spokesman, hesitated to say if the district could have handled things better.
“It all depends on the situation,” he said. “If it’s something that warrants calling 911, we will do that.”
Sabol acknowledged the statements in this case were serious enough to merit a 911 call.
“The bottom line from the district is that we’re doing everything we can to keep students and staff safe,” he said. “That’s the No. 1 goal.”
Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @snocaleb.