District officials said that police were systematically searching and securing each room at the school before releasing students to a safe location.

KELSO, Wash. — Police evacuated Kelso High School in Cowlitz County Friday afternoon due to reports of a gun on campus, according to Kelso School District officials. There was no active threat to students and no reported injuries, they said.

“Kelso High School is in secure and teach due to a reported possible threat. Kelso Police are currently onsite investigating,” a district spokesperson said in an initial message to families. “At this time, students are all safe inside classrooms. The assembly and all other activities are canceled.”

Officers from the Kelso Police Department, Longview Police and deputies from the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office all responded around 1 p.m. after Kelso High School learned of the gun threat.

Police officers were searching and securing each classroom at the high school. As classrooms were cleared, students were being escorted to the school gymnasium “which was cleared and secured first.” High school students were being held at the gym until the entire school was secured, which officials said could take a few hours.

The district asked that no one visit or try to enter the school as police evacuated students. Instead, parents were instructed to park at Tam O’Shanter Park then walk to the South Gym in order to pick up students, bringing identification to display.

Middle and elementary school buses were expected to run as normal, the district said, but buses for high school students would not arrive at the school until about 4 p.m. in order to bring kids home.

“Student release time will be determined by police and the status of their investigation. Buses will return to Kelso High after the elementary bus runs to transport high school students,” the district continued.

All evening activities — including football and Homecoming — were canceled.

The Kelso School District did not provide any further information about the nature of the threat under investigation.

Secure and teach status, according to a write-up from another Washington school district, is similar to a lockdown but designed to sound less alarming as it can apply to a number of situations that don’t necessarily represent imminent harm to students — for instance, nearby police activity that may not be directly connected to the school.

This is a developing story and will be updated with more details as they emerge.



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