Statement re: FHS Student Arrest

Ferndale School District Logo

**The District has issued a correction to this statement. The correction statement is available at the following link: **

[Ferndale, Wash.]
On Wednesday, September 25th a Ferndale High School student was arrested at his home for threats of violence made to other Ferndale High School students. As always, we extend thanks to our law enforcement partners for their diligence and support and to our students and staff who communicated concerns.

The Ferndale School District sent communication items to Ferndale High School staff and families on the evening of September 25th and updated information to all Ferndale School District staff and families today, Friday, September 27th. Up-to-date information has been posted to the following location and is provided below:

Question: I have heard rumors that this student was arrested for the same thing in August. Is this true? If so, why was he allowed at FHS in the first place?

Ferndale School District Response: 

  • No. He did not make a threat against Ferndale High School in August. In fact, he was not a Ferndale High School student in August. Therefore, the Ferndale School District did not have knowledge of his August arrest at the time he registered for school, which was on September 3. 

Question: Why was this student at FHS?

Ferndale School District Response:

  • This student registered at FHS because he is a resident living inside Ferndale School District boundaries. This student came to us from out of state and provided no additional information regarding his past history. His previous school district did not provide academic or behavior records. We were working to acquire these.
  • As part of the judicial proceedings related to this student’s August arrest, the student’s guardian told the judge that the student would be pursuing a GED, which is an alternative to a high school diploma that students acquire outside of public school.
  • Because he was not a student at the time of his August arrest, FHS did not receive notice of his arrest. 

Question: What are we going to do when he comes back?

Ferndale School District Response:

  • This student has been emergency expelled from FHS because of the threat he made that was reported on September 25. 
  • As with any student who resides in our attendance area, we are obligated to provide him an education. However, in this case, we know the following:
    • A court order has been issued that includes a safety plan.
    • The student will not be allowed back at FHS until a Level II Threat Assessment has cleared him. 
  • We do not have additional information at this time about how, when, and/or if this student may return.

Question: What is the Ferndale School District Administration doing about this threat?

Ferndale School District Response:

  • This is “see something, say something” in action.
  • We followed our threat assessment protocols exactly. Because we followed our process, we were able to understand that there was a longer history that we needed to include in our analysis.
  • We validate every report made to Ferndale School District administration. This is an example. 

Question: When did FHS Administrators know about this student’s background?

Ferndale School District Response:

  • FHS administrators made contact with probation officers in Whatcom County on September 23. This was proactive communication after concern had been raised by an FHS staff member.
  • FHS administrators received information about this student’s past history on September 24 and immediately began creating a safety plan, which would have been followed by a Threat Assessment if the events on the September 25 had not required an emergency expulsion.