February 19, 2018
Dear Bend Senior High School families,
In recent days, we have seen students and community members responding to, and talking about, the terrible act of violence that took place at a Parkland, Florida high school. For those who work and attend school in classroom environments every day – or send their students to school every day - we may find that events like the tragedy in Parkland feel close to home and raise intense emotions.
This weekend we talked with a student who reported overhearing two other students talking about general school attacks in ways that were perceived to be threatening to the Bend Senior High School learning environment. Bend Police Department and school administrators spent countless hours throughout the weekend attempting to follow up on this lead. The students who were said to have made these remarks were not identified and the single witness statement did not yield a viable lead. We will continue to investigate any new information that becomes available.
I share this with you tonight so that you are aware that we will have an increased police presence at Bend Senior High School tomorrow, which is the date that the reporting student said the two youth were allegedly discussing violence could take place at our school.
We and our partners at Bend Police Department have invested many resources into looking into this tip – all hours that we give willingly and with passion as we want to do everything we can to keep our students and schools safe.
That said, we have an opportunity for a ‘teachable moment’ where we can talk to our students about tone that is appropriate to use when having conversations with others about the tragedies that we are too frequently seeing on our mobile devices, on social media and on television.
It is my hope that you can help to reinforce to your student that if they see something, they should always say something. Please encourage your students to contact the main office, talk to a staff member or counselor, or use the SafeOregon tip line that they can find under the First Step icon on their iPad desktops at any time. (Parents, you can download First Step on your own device. Search for First Step OR in your app store.)
This single incident is not indicative of the Bend Senior High School culture or students. We, and our law enforcement partners, believe that our school will be safe for all students tomorrow. Patrols and police presence will be increased in an abundance of caution. Additionally, we understand that in informing our community of this threat we run the risk of other students copying this behavior. However, we felt it was important to communicate with our parents about this situation tonight.
Thank you for your support of our Lava Bear community.
Sincerely, Bend Senior High School Administration Team
Note: It is against the Oregon Law to misuse the tip line and report false tips. ORS 165.570.