- Kent School District
Meridian Elementary Lockdown and School Closure
Regarding Meridian Elementary School Lockdown and School Closure
Our first priority is always the safety of our students and staff. As of late afternoon on November 16, the suspect has been placed under arrest and is now in custody.
Meridian Elementary School plans have been modified for Thursday, November 17, and Friday, November 18, to support the mental health and well-being of our students and staff. The school will communicate these plans directly with Meridian Elementary families.
Events Leading to Meridian Elementary School Closure
On November 14, an adult male was driving erratically outside of the school building and threatened a staff member. KSD School Safety Services and Kent Police were notified. The suspect drove away and later returned driving erratically and continued with verbal threats at families entering the school using a megaphone. At this time, the school was placed in a lockdown. Police and KSD Safety Services staff responded quickly. The suspect drove away and then to a house bordering school grounds. Police reported the suspect involved had access to a rifle. Since that time, the police took possession of a firearm and ultimately took him into custody. The school remained in lockdown for the rest of the school day due to ongoing police activity.
Kent School District officials were in close contact with Kent Police monitoring this situation. Out of an abundance of caution, school was canceled on Tuesday and Wednesday because the suspect had not been taken into custody yet and was seen multiple times driving in front of Meridian Elementary during the past few days. The police made attempts to stop the vehicle and were unsuccessful. State law does not allow police officers to pursue for this situation.
The police did everything within the scope of the law to keep everyone safe. We acknowledge the work of Kent Police, which deployed many officers who spent dozens of hours working to resolve this matter. During this time, the suspect was not observed in the vicinity of any other Kent School District school, and for this reason, the district decided not to close other schools.
Again, providing a safe learning environment for our students and staff is our main concern. Social emotional supports will be provided to students to help them transition back to school.
We understand the concern and frustration of the families, Meridian staff, and community members impacted by this incident. We appreciate your patience and understanding during this challenging situation.