EUGENE, Ore. — It’s business as usual at high schools and elementary schools across our area. But swirling through halls and social networking sites, the rumor mill is running rampant in both the 4J and Bethel school districts.
“Our high school mostly has been notified that rumors have been going around about impending violent acts taking place this coming Friday,” said Pat McGillivray, Bethel Schools spokesman.
“It seems that there is a combination of people’s understandable reaction, the recent tragedies, and also to buzz about the end of the world and the Mayan calendar,” said Kerry Delf, 4J spokeswoman.
You may recall on Monday EPD investigated two students from Churchill High School possibly threatening to brings guns to school on Friday. That was unfounded.
Then Tuesday, Eugene Police cited a North Eugene High School freshman, following threats he allegedly made toward his teacher and classmates. The teen faces disorderly conduct charges. Officers found he didn’t have access to weapons, but the threat was alarming enough to be reported and investigated.
“Any comment about violence or bringing weapons to school, that is a very serious statement, even if it wasn’t meant ot be taken seriously,” Delf said.
Both districts posted a letter on their websites, addressing the rumors, and EPD plans to increase security around campuses in both districts on Friday.
“These days, given what’s happened in our country and some of our schools, it’s always better to air on the side of caution,” McGillivray said.
The districts agree everyone may be more on edge, which is why there’s a heightened awareness and reporting of these possible threats. That being said, it says it will take each and every one seriously to ensure students are safe.
EPD met Wednesday about this issue and says it is increasing its staffing around all 50 schools. There will be some officers patrolling around campuses and even some officers inside some of the schools.
EPD says it’s never a good time to make threats on Facebook, but now it is are taking them even more seriously.