Ferndale School District says it was aware expelled student had made previous threat

The Ferndale School District corrected last week’s release to parents and said it was aware that a student reportedly made a similar threat approximately a month before it was alerted by students and staff that the same student had made shooting threats on Sept. 25.

In a release to parents on Sept. 27, the district said that it was unaware that the 16-year-old male student had been arrested by the Ferndale Police Department in August at the time he registered for class on Sept. 3. But in Tuesday’s press release, the district said “the timeline was not correct,” and that Ferndale police had shared information about the August arrest with the district before Sept. 3.

The district is bringing in a third-party investigator to determine how internal communication broke down and the error was made, the release stated, and they will be asked to make suggestions to correct problems that are found.

“We are deeply sorry that the information contained an error,” Ferndale Superintendent Dr. Linda Quinn said in the release. “We want our staff, families and community to trust the information that we send out. As part of that trust, we will always do our best to correct ourselves when necessary.”

The student was arrested at his home on the evening of Sept. 25 by Ferndale police and has since been emergency expelled by the district for the threats of violence, which were reportedly made to other Ferndale High students, according to the district’s Sept. 27 release.

Many parents questioned why the student, whose name has not been released, was allowed to attend the school after hearing rumors that the student had been previously arrested in August, according to the Sept. 27 release.

The student recently moved into the district’s boundaries, the Sept. 27 release stated, adding that his previous school district had not provided academic or behavior records prior to the threats made Sept. 25. The student’s guardian also reportedly had said in court following the August arrest that the student would be pursuing a GED alternative diploma.

David Rasbach joined The Bellingham Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news. He has been an editor and writer in several western states since 1994.