February 5, 2014 | Vol.54 N.6

PRESS RELEASE PART: High school healing and moving forward

Granite Falls High School healing and moving forward

after recent cyber-threats

District/OSPI holding Digital Safety meeting for all

Chief of Granite Falls, David Bowman, made a special visit to the High School students during lunch on Tuesday, January 28. After working day-in and day-out on the recent cyber-threat case, Bowman seized the opportunity to meet and talk one-on-one with the students after the recent resolving news of the case.

Chief Bowman walked around greeting students in the commons area for a couple of hours to become more acquainted. Several students approached Bowman and introduced themselves. This was a great opportunity for the students to ask questions and have in-person contact with Bowman. Chief Bowman, former Snohomish County Sherriff, was recently appointed Chief of Granite Falls after a City Council meeting held January 15.

As you may already know, Bowman was heavily involved in the recent cyber-threat investigation that the community endured. The High School's atmosphere has changed quite a bit after the arrest was made on January 17. High School Principal, Michele Wadeikis, spoke to staff the morning after the arrest was made, "As we all have a sense of relief, I know that we have a lot to do to begin the healing process. This situation has affected each of us differently, with this process comes emotions we may not understand, from happiness to sadness."

Despite the concerns in the last month, students and staff have carried-on enthusiastically in the many school activities occurring. The High School had their annual "Cat Fight" on Saturday, the 1st, in which the boys' and girls' basketball teams competed against rivalry school, Lakewood. The schools also fundraise for one week prior to the games. ASB Vice President, Hannah Eadie said, "Catfight is fun because we get to compete and raise money for a good cause." Granite Falls High School brought strong competition to each event, with the boys' basketball team winning their game and the students raised $751.67 in one week for the Seattle Children's Hospital. "The bleachers were packed and there was an overwhelming demonstration of tiger pride in the sea of black and orange," said Principal Wadeikis.

Chief Bowman has expressed an eagerness to move forward and work with the kids and repair the anguish this community faced. "Granite Falls is a great place and the Police department and I are committed to working closely with the community to quickly identify and solve problems going forward," Bowman added. Superintendent Linda Hall also commented, "While we can't alleviate all the concerns and fears in this community, I can promise that we are working hard on improving our procedures and partnerships with this community."

As an update on the investigation, the Snohomish Detectives have completed their portion of the investigation and returned the lead to Granite Falls Police. Granite Falls Police are following up with individual victims that were on the "threat lists." Anyone wishing to be included as an individual victim will have that opportunity. Additionally, Granite Falls Police have asked the Snohomish County Sheriff Computer Forensics Unit to continue to investigate the internet capable devices located at the suspect's residence.

The District is partnering with the OSPI to host a "Digital Safety" training on February 11th at 6pm in the High School PAC. In addition, the non-profit "Victim Support Services" of Snohomish County is available as a resource to any victims in this case, you can find out more about these services by calling their office at 425-252-6081 or the 24-hour crisis line offered at 1-800-346-7555. Please continue to check the district's website for more information.

"There is a unique family-feel in this town that I really appreciate," Superintendent Hall added. The district is doing its best effort to respond to the community's feedback and offer numerous resources for families. "The support from our community is helping us (all) heal and move forward in a variety of ways. We continue to grow as a community in the face of this unfortunate occurrence and we will become stronger from this."

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