UPDATE | Two students blamed for multiple hoax 911 calls

The two elementary-aged girls who called 911 late last week and claimed a person with a gun was near a school gymnasium on the island actually made multiple hoax calls to emergency dispatchers, authorities now indicate.

Police swarmed to multiple schools across the island — and officials with the Bainbridge Island School District put all of their schools in lockdown mode — after a 911 call came in at about 3 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 16 that warned of a gunman.

The two students allegedly made the first prank call while aboard a school bus, but then apparently made other calls that directed officers to different schools.

The bogus calls resulted in Bainbridge police — and many officers called from off-island police agencies — looking for a non-existent gunman at multiple schools at the same time.

Police quickly determined the calls were coming from a school bus, however, and the lockdowns at area schools were lifted soon after police notified school district authorities at 3:20 p.m. Officers remained at some island schools as some students were let out to go home.

Officials with the Bainbridge Island School District have released few details of the students involved in last week’s gun scare, citing student privacy laws.

They also said they could not discuss what discipline the two students involved in the hoax will face.

Even so, District Superintendent Peter Bang-Knudsen told parents and staff in an email that the district would review its protocols on lockdown procedures because of the 911 scare.

Bang-Knudsen noted he was at Bainbridge High when the school got the call from police asking for a lockdown last Thursday afternoon.

“I was impressed by the professionalism of the staff and students as they entered the lockdown,” he said.

“Whenever we have a situation like this, we review what worked, and what can be improved upon with our district staff, as well as with our community partners (Bainbridge Police and Bainbridge Fire),” Bang-Knudsen added. “We will continue to fine-tune our practices and further develop our training for staff, students and parents if a similar event occurs in the future. Our next steps include clarification of communication protocols, evaluation of when to place multiple buildings on lockdown, and review of specific processes for lockdown within each building.”

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