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Spokane Public Schools issues response to questions regarding FBI investigation

The school district responded to questions about reports that it is failing to report serious crimes in schools.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane Public Schools responded Wednesday night to an FBI investigation accusing the district of failing to report serious crimes happening in school buildings.

Letter to Meidl:

Credit: SPS

Last Friday, Spokane Police Chief Craig Meidl sent a letter to Superintendent Adam Swinyard describing a "pattern of assaults and threats occurring to students and staff that are not being reported to the police."

In response, SPS said that its 5,000 employees are trained annually, and their practice of mandatory reporting is consistent with other school districts across the state. Spokane police and the FBI are telling a different story and encouraging staff to come forward with complaints.

Spokane City Council Member Michael Cathcart shared a letter the FBI sent to Spokane principals and administrators. The letter says the FBI is aware of allegations of assaults, sexual assaults, threats of violence and drug use occurring in Spokane schools. The FBI also asks principals to contact them if they have been pressured by the district to not report incidents to police.

Now, the district is firing back. A spokesperson said the district has been kept in the dark about these concerns and only recently became aware of this investigation.

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SPS wants to know why they were not contacted immediately by Spokane police or the FBI, who have been investigating these claims for months.

"Given your stated significant concern for student safety, why have you delayed in bringing this issue to our attention?," the spokesperson said in the letter to Meidl. "We are aware that you recently met with members of the district senior leadership and did not surface this issue. Typically, public entities initiate communication with senior leadership at the onset of such a serious concern." 

In a statement sent to KREM 2 News, the district said, "These allegations are creating a significant level of disruption and concern for our staff." 

Credit: SPS

The district says it is their understanding that not all student misconduct is required to be reported to police, adding they believe staff are reporting incidents that need to be reported.

The district also says it is not aware of any patterns of complaints from families or building staff regarding a failure to report serious incidents.

Editors note: An earlier version of this story indicated the second document was sent to parents. It was sent to news media.

   

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