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Jan. 21, 2022

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Airsoft pistol found in Sehome High School student’s backpack, causing Friday’s lockout


BELLINGHAM — Sehome High School went into a modified lockout for nearly two hours Friday, because a student brought an airsoft pistol to school, according to a Saturday statement by Bellingham Public Schools.

The school went into a modified lockout around 11 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 3, while the Bellingham Police Department investigated the situation, according to previous reporting in The Bellingham Herald. The modified lockout ended around 12:45 p.m., The Herald previously reported.

In a Friday afternoon update sent to families, school officials said Bellingham police conducted a thorough investigation and checked the high school’s hallways with K-9 officers.

During the investigation, police confiscated an airsoft pistol from a student’s backpack, according to the school district Dec. 4.

School staff learned of the possibility of a weapon on campus by students who shared information with the school’s administrative staff, according to Dana Smith, a Bellingham Public Schools spokesperson.

Smith said the student’s age, grade level or the discipline the student could potentially face could not be disclosed due to student discipline and privacy law.

In a lockout situation, the exterior doors to the school are locked and students follow protocols for moving throughout the building. Friday’s lockout was modified because students stayed in the classrooms they were in as of 11 a.m. that day, and didn’t move throughout the building, Smith said.

A lockout is started when there might be a danger outside of the buildings or off campus, according to Bellingham Public Schools. Law enforcement advises the school district on which protocol to follow, Smith said.

This was the second lockout/lockdown situation at a high school in Whatcom County within the week.

A student who reportedly brought a weapon to Ferndale High School, forcing the school into a three-hour long lockdown Wednesday, Dec. 1, turned himself in to law enforcement Thursday, Dec. 2, according to previous reporting in The Herald.

The weapon was seized and confirmed to be a BB gun. Ferndale Police said in a joint statement with the Ferndale School District that it expected to file criminal charges against the student, whose name has not been released, with the Whatcom County Prosecutor’s Office, The Herald previously reported.

The Herald has reached out to Bellingham police and the prosecutor’s office for more information.