Julie Hillend-Jones had, until this week, been a teacher at Puyallup‘s Emerald Ridge High School, where she was an admired educator with no criminal record. Unfortunately, her career is likely over, and she may be facing prison time, thanks to alleged remarks she was overheard making.
What she allegedly said, and when and where she allegedly said it, are not clear, as of this writing. Police say that she was in “a professional setting” when she reportedly referenced shooting one or more students. Other adults overheard her make the statements, and reported her to the police.
Pierce County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Ed Troyer said that the information he has is that it wasn’t just hyperbolic or casual banter that Hillend-Jones was allegedly engaging in, but that she was actually speaking from a place of anger, which elevates the seriousness of the situation.
“She had some anger involved with it when she said it, from what we understand, and they took it seriously and called the school district,” he said.
Troyer further pointed out that he’s not aware of what could have led to the alleged threats, but “obviously there’s something,” he said. He also said that, if a student had made those threats, he or she too would be taken to jail.
“If a kid makes those kind of statements, they end up going to jail, and they have to pay the price for it,” Troyer said.
Hillend-Jones had no criminal record, and throughout her teaching career, Hillend-Jones had no documented problems.
Sophomore Brooklyn Bisson, one of Hillend-Jones’ students, said that she never would have suspected the teacher of doing such a thing.
“I was really shocked to hear that it was her because she’s a very much like a I’m-here-to-help-you type teacher,” she said.
In a statement, the Puyallup School District noted that all threats to the safety of its students, whether they come from students or adults, must be taken seriously.
“Making threats against the safety of students and staff is a felony crime and taken very seriously by Puyallup School District,” the statement reads in part.
It remains unclear, as of this writing, if Hillend-Jones has an attorney; what, specifically, she’s been charged with; whether or not she was granted (and/or has made) bail; and other specifics of this case.