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Threats of Violence at Bend Schools

Bend Police ups its presence, attendance down

Chris Miller Feb 21, 2018 16:00 PM

Bend Senior High School has joined the growing list of Bend-La Pine schools recently put on alert due to threats of possible violence.

On Monday, BLP Schools sent Lava Bear parents a letter, alerting them to increased police presence in response to a conversation with a student who allegedly overheard two other students talking about a possible attack of violence at the school. Police say the students who allegedly made the threats were not identified and no viable leads were found.

According to Lt. Clint Burleigh of Bend Police, police are still following leads and talking to students. He said attendance was down a bit Tuesday.

This follows several other alleged threats at Bend schools within one week. On Feb. 14, the Deschutes County Sheriff's office says a male student at High Desert Middle School activated a fire alarm, causing students to be evacuated. DSCO interviewed a number of students and determined the male student acted alone. The student has been disciplined by school administration and temporarily removed from school. The DCSO cited him with one count of Disorderly Conduct I.

About 20 minutes later, DCSO responded to another issue at High Desert, involving a student who cops say was threatening other students and said he had a firearm. Authorities searched school grounds and determined the student didn't have a gun in his possession. School administrators disciplined the student and removed him from the school. The DCSO cited him with Disorderly Conduct I and Harassment.

Also on Feb. 14—the same day tragedy unfolded in Florida, where 17 people were killed when a former student opened fire—district officials sent families from Summit High School a letter that reported bathroom vandalism which contained a possible threat toward the school. The following day, the school sent out another letter to parents. According to KTZV's website, the letter read, "Law enforcement has deemed the threat not viable, as previously stated. That said, we will continue to look into leads and have increased police presence at school as we head into the weekend."

Burleigh said his office will always investigate threats as serious.

"If we don't do anything and something happens [then people say] why didn't you do anything about it," Burleigh told the Source.

"The right thing to do is make our kids safe," Burleigh said. "We're also parents, too. I would rather overreact than underreact."

Burleigh said in light of the recent activity in Bend and around the country, gun control and mental health issues have been hot news items. He said kids who are experiencing mental health issues should remember about the First Step app and the Safe Oregon website.