Police sweep closes school and forces out the students

By ERIC STEVICK

Herald Writer

LAKE STEVENS — About 200 Glenwood Elementary School students spent Friday on an unscheduled field trip to Lake Stevens High School after their campus was closed because of a community manhunt.

Most parents with students at the school of 516 had heard about the early morning search and kept their children home. Those students who did board school buses were taken directly to the high school about five miles away.

Two other schools, Skyline Elementary and Lake Stevens Middle School, kept their perimeter doors closed Friday and had staff on alert. Students were also kept in for recess and physical education. Similar precautions were taken at Centennial Middle School in the Snohomish School District.

It was not a typical day for Glenwood students and parents.

The schoolchildren were greeted in their buses by Lake Stevens High School principal John Gebert, who asked them if they wanted to be high school students for the day. The youngsters gleefully accepted.

A school district administrator went home to retrieve the movie "A Bug’s Life" for the young students to watch in the school’s performing arts center.

There was a brief intermission for lunch in the high school cafeteria.

Parents and adults identified as emergency contacts picked up most of the Glenwood students at the high school.

There was a formal checkout procedure that included video surveillance.

Therese Quinn, a parent with children at Glenwood and Lake Stevens Middle School, appreciated the safety precautions.

"I thought the way the school district handled it was really well thought out," she said.

Joy Lansdowne, the Glenwood principal, said the experience was initially stressful on staff, but the students didn’t seem affected.

"It was like an adventure for them," she said. "The high school students were greeting them and walking them in. There was not one kid who was stressed. They were all calm."

Lansdowne said her school learned lessons about dealing with a crisis, particularly the importance of reminding parents to update information on emergency phone numbers.

Ironically, Lansdowne said, the school was preparing to practice a crisis drill on Monday, which has since been canceled.

"Nothing like having the real thing," she said.

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