SPOKANE, Wash. – On March 11, 2022, the Spokane Police Department sent a letter to Spokane Public Schools notifying them of numerous alleged incidents of non-compliance with mandatory reporting requirements that have come to the attention of police.
School personnel are required by law to report all cases of abuse, neglect, and other concerning situations as outlined in RCW 74.34.035, also known as mandatory reporting requirements. The SPD alleges that the SPS failed to report a number of incidents that would fall under this mandate.
The letter sent to the district about the child’s safety is one of the SPD’s biggest concerns. “These laws have no exceptions or exemptions for philosophies that may be contrary to clearly stated statutes. RCW 26.44.080 states: “Any person who is required to make or cause to be made a report in accordance with RCW 26.44 .030 and 26.44.040, and who knowingly fails to make, or fails to cause to be made, such report, shall be guilty of a serious misdemeanour.'”
It ends with a request to work collaboratively with the district to ensure all laws are followed, creating the safest school system and learning environment possible.
In a response letter sent by Spokane Public Schools to Chief Meidl and city officials, they refuted the claims, stating, “The district management team is not aware of any pattern of family complaints. or building personnel regarding non-compliance with reporting obligations.
The letter says the SPD had been concerned about not showing up since the start of the school year, but did not notify the district. The letter goes on to ask, “Given your significant concern for student safety, why have you been slow to bring this issue to our attention?”
According to SPS, all staff undergo mandatory annual reporting training through SafeSchools that is documented at the start of each school year, ensuring staff are aware of protocols and procedures in this regard.
The SPS further alleges, “There are SPS principals who reported that they called 911 and officers did not answer their school. Additionally, principals shared that SPD officers criticized staff for calling in. How do we communicate and calibrate to move forward with these perceptions?”
KHQ has contacted the SPD for comment, but has not heard back yet.