Police meet with concerned parents at Horace Mann Elementary

Redmond police and parents met Monday evening to discuss a suspicious interaction between students at Horace Mann Elementary and an adult that has sparked concerns in the community.

Parents claim an adult tried to lure school children away from the neighborhood near Horace Mann, a claim that police have not verified.

At the meeting, Redmond Police Chief Kristi Wilson assured roughly 25 parents who had gathered that the department was investigating the incident.

“Any of these cases we take very seriously,” she said.

While information from the department was scarce, Wilson said she understood the concerns as a parent.

She also cautioned parents against spreading misinformation as it could open them up to libel lawsuits.

Julie Beard, community engagement sergeant, said the case was active and asked for statements from parents after the meeting if they had additional information.

According to Beard, officers received multiple emergency calls and that three students reported a “suspicious interaction” with an adult in the neighborhood.

She wouldn’t specify if the suspect had weapons or the status of the investigation.

However, Beard did say the threat level of the investigation did not warrant a dedicated officer to be posted at the school since there were no specific threats against it.

Beard runs a team of three school officers who are stationed at other schools in Redmond.

More patrol officers have however been directed to patrol the area of Horace Mann Elementary.

The case has been presented to a team of Seattle police officers, King County prosecutors and crisis management professionals, Beard said.

Horace Mann Principal Megan Spaulding addressed the crowd to inform them of safety precautions they had already taken.

These include generally having only the main door open during the school day, which is district-wide practice.

Students have pass cards to open other exterior doors.

Staff and visitors wear badges, and signs point visitors to the main office to sign in.

Safety drills are also practiced monthly, Spaulding said.

“In light of recent events, we have alerted all of our staff so that they are informed,” she said.

The school has a data system that is updated in real time and accessible to police in the event of an emergency.

Parents voiced concerns about the single unlocked door, wondering if it could remain locked.

Students moving from the portables at the school to the main building was another area of concern for parents.

Spaulding suggested parents could increase school security by calling 911 if they saw anything suspicious.

Talking to children on how to handle themselves around strangers and making connections with neighbors were also ways to build a safer community, Spaulding said.

“We know that we’re stronger together,” she said.

Despite concerns, Wilson said violent crime in Redmond is low and property crime is more common.

“We live in an incredibly safe community,” she said.