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Spokane Public Schools, police at odds over mandatory reporting concerns

The department alleges that the school district failed numerous times to report a "pattern of assaults and threats" on students and staff.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane Police Chief Craig Meidl says students and staff are less safe because multiple on-campus crimes are going unreported by the school district. 

Now, the Spokane Public Schools is firing back.

On March 11, Spokane Police Chief Craig Meidl sent a letter to Spokane Public Schools (SPS) Superintendent Dr. Adam Swinyard concerning numerous incidents that, according to Meidl, were failed to be brought to the attention of the police department.

"All professional school personnel are categorized as mandatory reporters and are required by law to report incidents outlined in RCW 74.34.035 that fall within circumstances prescribed by what is commonly referred to as mandatory reporting requirements," Meidl said in his letter.

Chief Meidl says he looked at six months of reports and noticed many crimes occurred on campus but weren't called in until later. In the letter, Chief Meidl says, "These laws do not have carve outs or exceptions for philosophies."  

Meidl Letter to Swinyard:

Credit: SPD

Following Friday's letter, Spokane Public Schools responded with a letter of their own, but to district staff. In it, they said the district is not aware of any patterns of complaints from families or building staff regarding a failure to comply with mandatory reporting.

On March 14, SPS sent a letter to Meidl requesting a meeting with him along with Mayor Woodward, City Council President Beggs and City Civil Rights Officer Jerrall Haynes.

The district also says, "...the District leadership is not aware of any patterns of complaints" and that "SPS principals have indicated they have called 911 and officers have not responded to their schools."

There are several other points in the letter, calling out the police department for not communicating sooner.

SPS letter to Chief Meidl:

This is an ongoing investigation and we will provide more updates as we receive them.

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