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Harbor Ridge Middle and Peninsula High Schools to Increase Police Presence on Friday

According to the Peninsula School District Academic Officer Daniel Gregory, Harbor Ridge Middle School administrators received a report from a student about the possibility of school safety being compromised on Friday, Dec. 21.

The Peninsula School District said Pierce County Sheriff’s Deputies and Gig Harbor Police will be on the Peninsula High School and Harbor Ridge Middle School campuses on Friday after one of the schools received a possible safety threat earlier this week.

On Monday, Dec. 17, Harbor Ridge Middle School administrators received a report from a student about the possibility of school safety being compromised on Friday, Dec. 21, according to the Peninsula School District Academic Officer Daniel Gregory.

A Peninsula High School student had made a statement to a sibling who attends Harbor Ridge about Friday, Dec. 21, and its association with the Mayan calendar. The statement included vague language that could be construed as threatening in nature. The sibling shared the statement with other students. As the story was shared amongst students different versions evolved.

Harbor Ridge administrators contacted the Peninsula High School principal about the situation and the PHS student’s involvement. The Peninsula principal, in turn, informed our School Resource Officer.

The School Resource Officer made contact with the student and the student’s parent.

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department and the District are confident that the statement made by the student did not pose a credible threat, said Gregory.

One local parent told Patch that parents have received a letter regarding the issue, and some have decided against sending their child to school on Friday for precautionary measures.

“We understand parents’ sensitivity to school safety and trust they will use their best judgment when choosing to send their students to school on Friday,” said Gregory.

This Friday will be one week after the devastating . 

"In light of the tragedy which occurred last week, all of our schools are on heightened awareness, as I understand law enforcement agencies to be, as well," said Gregory. "This has increased our sensitivity to recognizing situations which may compromise the safety of schools and increased the aggressiveness and level of detail in how we follow up on situations such as these. I believe this is the approach taken by school districts across the nation."  

Friday, Dec. 21, is an early release day with high schools out at 10:45 a.m., middle schools at 11:30 a.m. and elementary at 12:15 p.m. 

Would you feel comfortable sending your child to school tomorrow? Tell us in the comments section below.

Margaret Adamson December 20, 2012 at 11:42 PM
In light of all that has happened and the thoughts concerning Friday I would keep my children home. It's less than half a day attendance. Why chance it.
Akiko Oda December 21, 2012 at 12:09 AM
That's a good point. I just added the release times for tomorrow at the end of the article.
JymmeLynn Lemons December 21, 2012 at 12:35 AM
Did the note just come home today? My son was not able to go to school today, and no note came home Monday- Wednesday. I'm kind of wondering why there wasn't an all-call about this issue.
Michelle Smith December 21, 2012 at 01:11 AM
I understand the concern but my opinion is that there is a larger issue here. Do we teach our kids to be fearful of something that is statistically so remote? They are in far more danger riding (seatbeat and/or carseat included) in the car on I-5. There is so much awareness of the situation tomorrow that I think school is one of the safest places for a child tomorrow. Everyone and their brother will be on high alert. My kids want to go so my choice is to let them go.
nicholas menza December 21, 2012 at 02:10 AM
well, im a student at HRMS, Harbor Ridge Middle School, I might go, on my bus, my friend is saying there will be a shooting here, I don't belive her, so therefor It is a 70% chance i will go. And also our princible has grown up kids and he is bringing them to HRMS, so nothing to worry about he said.
nicholas menza December 21, 2012 at 02:14 AM
I belive Mr. Benoit, Mr. Wickens has sent an email.
JymmeLynn Lemons December 21, 2012 at 02:36 AM
Honestly I feel Harbor Ridge is an absolutely wonderful safe school Its just hard to know what is best to do when the unthinkable just happened a week ago.
Peg Nunley December 21, 2012 at 03:47 AM
Before you make the decision whether or not to keep your children home tomorrow, think about the message you want to send to them. Do you really want your kids to think school is an unsafe place, and deny them the opportunity of enjoying their school days and getting a good education? Your kids are in greater danger when you drive them down I-5 than they are at school. Let's not send our kids the wrong message, just to calm our own illogical fears.
Amy Johnson December 21, 2012 at 04:30 AM
I feel we should address the biggest issue here- increasing school security as a whole. It is possible to walk into our elementary school sight unseen. The doors in the back remain OPEN and unlocked all day. There are very simple actions that can take place to provide more security. Gun control and addressing access to care for mental illness are also part of the solution, however, the immediate actions we need to take are right here in our own backyards. While I appreciate the school district's memos on procedures as to what they would do if something took place, I feel we are now in a position to do everything possible to PREVENT this from happening. Proactive- not reactive.
Randy stephens December 21, 2012 at 04:50 AM
I am not confident in the school district protecting my children! I will keep them out tomorrow until I feel otherwise!
Akiko Oda December 21, 2012 at 04:59 AM
One Patch reader, whose kids attend Harbor Heights Elementary School, shared this email that the PSD sent to parents this evening: In light of recent events in the media regarding potential, yet unsubstantiated, threats to student safety in our district and others in our region, and the world-wide discussion concerning the Mayan calendar, we understand there are some concerns over safety at our schools tomorrow. Our schools will demonstrate increased awareness to ensure all students and staff feel safe. We have been working closely with local law enforcement who will be providing a heightened presence, as well. We understand parents’ sensitivity to school safety and trust your best judgment. If you decide to keep your children home, please notify the attendance office. We appreciate your patience and concerns and want you to know that the safety of students and staff will continue to be a focus.
Se-Ryong Oh-Russell December 21, 2012 at 06:36 AM
My daughter attends HRMS. Most of her friends are staying home tomorrow. I am going to drive her to school tomorrow and if she feels unsafe she is coming home...All I can say to the parents of these children who start terrible pranks, crimes etc is "pay attention to your kids!!!!"
K.M December 21, 2012 at 09:39 PM
To everyone stating that we should think about the message we send to Our kids by keeping them home due to our fears. Huh I wonder what world that you illogically live in. Of course you have a chance of getting hit on I-5 or or how about any of the other 100, 000 ways something can happen. So you think about the message , they are children and with everything that is going on regardless if the threat was true or not . It is not our fear it is OUR CHILDREN'S FEAR... and if they want to stay home on a half day when there not going to be doing anything anyway.. sounds perfectly fine to me ..THINK ABOUT IT BEFORE YOU SPEAK ABOUT IT.
AH December 22, 2012 at 12:50 AM
As the parent of a young elementary school student I let her go she doesn't even know what happened. We chose not to watch the 24 hour coverage, and not to burden her with events which occurred on the side of the country. A young mind doesn't understand news coverage is a continuous loop of the same event, so any fear a young child here has is only due to adults bombarding them with it. It is an adult fear and an adult's responsibility to weigh fear with fact. The tragic events in CT were committed by a random individual who didn't warn anyone of his intentions, and he walked into a locked building with the highest level of security precautions. The most tragic events in history don't come with warnings, which should be kept in mind before scaring our kids.

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