Updated at 4:11 p.m., 1/7/2015:
Reports of an armed male on school grounds sent Shoreline schools into lockdown on Wednesday morning, said Sergeant DB Gates of the King County Sheriff's Office.
Lockdown was lifted at 10:15 a.m., and students were sent home. Police stayed at schools until all students were safely released.
An armed male was reportedly seen at Meridian Park Elementary at Meridian Avenue North and North 175th. Police released a limited description of the man on Twitter: "Only suspect is a male, camo pants, dark hoodie. Unknown race, unknown age. Had a firearm."
A food service employee spotted the man; staff at the elementary school called 911 at 7:50 a.m. Children had been at the school as early as 6:30 a.m. for child care.
“There was a male seen with a weapon and we’re searching for him,” Gates said earlier in the morning. “We don’t know who he is.”
Deputies searched the area with a K9 (police dog) team from Seattle, she said.
Shoreline Public Schools put all schools in lockdown following the report, Gates said. They asked that parents stay away from school.
"Students are safe and police are present at the buildings," a memo to parents said. Students that were headed to school by bus were picked up at the Spartan Recreation Center at Northeast 185th and 1st Avenue Northeast. The memo asked parents to bring identification.
Around 10:30 a.m., parents formed a long line outside the Spartan Recreation Center to pick up their children. The line moved quickly, as parents showed ID then walked in to retrieve their kids. The students had been on buses on their way to school, then rerouted to the center.
Outside, a mom said that special needs students from the high school had been sent to the center. Her daughter was on the bus when the report came in; she said her daughter had to sit on the school bus for an hour before being rerouted.
Shoreline Public Schools had updated its reunification plan following the shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck High School in October, said Craig Degginger, a spokesman for the school district. He said the plan went smoothly.
"They did the right thing. We put the children center into lockdown immediately and went from there," Degginger said.
Several parents outside the center agreed that the process had gone smoothly. They seemed fairly calm. Jessica Cote hugged her daughter Anna as they walked out of the center hand in hand.
The fourth grader was on one of the rerouted school buses earlier. Cote said this incident brings up some new considerations for her. She hadn’t really talked to her daughter about school shootings and safety precautions. But she expects they’ll have a deeper conversation now.
"I guess the other thing is we’d been contemplating giving her a phone. She seems a little young for that, but in this situation I wish I could have communicated with her," Cote said.
Anna nodded her head yes. She wasn’t too shaken up. But still, it would have been nice to call her mom.
School officials will discuss with police whether school should remain closed on Thursday. They don’t know yet whether they will close school or take more security precautions.