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Spokane Public Schools amending campus safety docs that state police should be used as 'last resort'

Although the district and campus safety documents were available on the district's website as of Tuesday afternoon, they have since been removed.

SPOKANE, Wash. — As KREM 2 investigators continue to look into the district's response to violence at area schools, the Spokane Public Schools (SPS) school board and district amended documents that discourage teachers from reporting violence directly to the police.

Originally adopted in 2017, SPS said Policy and Procedure No. 6514, which details district and campus safety, are currently being updated and were just shared with the school board. However, the copy obtained by KREM 2 was updated on March 9, 2022.

Although the documents were available on the district's website as of Tuesday afternoon, they have since been removed.

Under the section titled "Student Discipline and Reducing Law Enforcement Contact and Arrests," the document states:

SPS administrators have the primary responsibility to ensure consistent enforcement of school rules and policies. No law enforcement officer or campus safety specialist shall be requested to act as a school disciplinarian. Disciplining students is the responsibility of the school site principal or designee. 

Law enforcement officers and campus safety specialists will not be requested to interview students or collect evidence for SPS disciplinary purposes, including for expulsion matters. 

Effective the 2020-2021 school year, SPS administrators shall prioritize and document alternatives to police involvement, such as the use of restorative practices, and use law enforcement only as the absolute last resort and only for incidents for which law enforcement is necessary to address a serious threat to school safety, as identified in Procedure No. 3225.

Below are the proposed amended SPS district and campus safety documents:

The amended document was presented to the SPS school board and an updated amendment was signed off by SPS Superintendent Adam Swinyards on March 9, 2022. However, the district said the amended procedure has not been approved yet and is still considered a work in progress.

Several days after the amendment, KREM 2 investigators spoke with the communication director for SPS, Sandra Jarrard. She said the school district encourages reporting crimes to police.

"Whenever there is an assault on a student, our staff immediately is sent to investigate. And right away, we call Spokane Police Department, and once they arrive, they take on that investigation." Jarrard said. "If there is ever an issue with any assault on a student, teachers should feel safe to call 9-1-1."

When asked about teachers who were told not to contact the police and go to school administration first, Jarrard said there is no such policy and that police need to be contacted anytime there is an assault on a student or staff member.

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