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'I don't know if they're getting it under control': New 911 audio shows commotion during Lewis and Clark mob

KREM 2 obtained 911 call audio files through a public records request and received them on Thursday.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Editor's note: To protect the identity of the minors involved in this story, their names have been redacted from the 911 audio.

New 911 audio files detail what happened at Lewis and Clark High School when a reported mob of at least 75 students rushed into the student office and began threatening school staff.

KREM 2 obtained these audio files through a public records request and received them on Thursday.

Spokane police charged two female students relating to a reported mob scene inside the high school on May 2. Students shared videos of the crowd rushing down the hallway to the student office that day.

KREM 2 investigators filed a public records request for copies of the 911 phone calls made during the incident. The initial phone call came at 11:36 a.m. from a staff member who told dispatch that students were threatening teachers.

During this phone call, you can faintly hear yelling in the background as the staff member talks with the campus safety officer. The commotion continues for several moments before the staff member appears to ask someone to notify Spokane Public Schools (SPS).

Thursday, May 5, 2022, 11:36 a.m.- Initial 911 call from the student office at Lewis and Clark High School

Less than ten minutes after the initial 911 call, dispatch received another call canceling the initial call. The caller told dispatch that school administrators "have stabilized the hallways."

Thursday, May 5, 2022, 11:44 a.m.- Cancellation of the initial 911 call to Lewis and Clark

However, KREM 2 obtained police scanner traffic from Broadcastify the day after the incident. In that audio, a dispatcher tells police that the staff member who made the initial call said she did not know why the initial call was canceled because the situation was not under control.

"[The staff member] says she doesn't know who called to tell us that everything was controlled, but it's not," the dispatcher told police. "They said they saw the mob in the hallways."

When police arrived, officers determined that they did, in fact, need to be there. They found a large group of students around the student office. It was also reported that many students had their phones out and were recording what happened.

Two female students were each ultimately charged with criminal mischief riot and harassment and threat to harm. The charges are being handled through the juvenile court.

Approximately three hours after the incident at the high school, a parent of one of the students charged contacted Crime Check to inquire about the next steps in their child's case.

KREM 2 also obtained that 911 audio file through a public records request.

Thursday, May 5, 2022, 2:10 p.m.- The parent of a student charged in mob calls Crime Check to figure out the next steps in the case

One week after the incident, KREM 2 asked Lewis and Clark students if they feel safe at the school. Their faces and names will not be shown since they are minors.

Several students KREM 2 spoke to said they are not worried about their safety here. However, some students and staff do not feel the same way. 

"The school doesn't do anything to make sure we are safe," one student said. "We always feel uncomfortable constantly." 

The fear from that school day spilled over into frustration at the Spokane Public Schools Board meeting on Wednesday night. One teacher continued to call for help, but instead of police, asked for policies to change.

"We’ve been begging at our school, easily since October, for things to change because it just seems like we’re just waiting for disaster, is that the point?" said Matt Tully-Ruppert, a math teacher at Lewis and Clark. "I don’t get the point. It's insane to me."

Tully-Ruppert spoke to SPS, specifically Superintendent Adam Swinyard, at the school board meeting. He said the problem of safety at schools is not limited to a one-time event, but an ongoing issue. One that he said has been ignored and is putting staff and students at risk.

”I just find it hard to recognize all of these stories I’ve heard all year that are so disturbing, but yet we’re waiting for a bigger disaster before we say, 'Oh, we didn’t know there was any issues," Tully-Ruppert told the board.

KREM 2 reached out to SPS and requested to speak with Swinyard, but was told he was not available. However, the district did release the following statement:

Spokane Public Schools is committed to listening to all stakeholders as we work to foster positive and safe school communities. Any member of the community is welcome to attend our workgroup focused on behavior interventions and supports, which has been meeting regularly over the past five years.

Regarding this specific incident, while accounts of what happened vary, we do know that there were no weapons present, no physical violence, and no disruption to classrooms.

Four students engaged in a dispute during the lunch period, which caused a loud crowd of students to form around a potential altercation. While administrators deescalated the situation within minutes, several staff members were inclined to call the Spokane Police Department to seek additional support. SPD responded very quickly and worked with administrators to evaluate actions against the students who instigated the situation.

Since this incident occurred, LC administrators have been talking with staff and families about how to best move forward as a learning community.

KREM 2 also reached out to the SPS School Board but has not heard back as of Thursday afternoon.


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