EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) – A continued word of warning from Eugene 4J, Bethel Schools and Eugene Police as local schools deal with a flood of rumors about threats of violence fueled by current events and social media.
Eugene 4J and Bethel Schools released a joint statement this week, saying the districts are seeing a spike in school violence rumors online. In response, more police will patrol school campuses on Friday, December 21.
According to the districts, several students connected through social media have been spreading rumors about school violence by the end of the week.
The rumors come in the context of the recent Connecticut School shooting and the doomsday predictions many have made with the end of the Mayan calendar on Friday.
“It's really important for students to know that if they say something, even if it was not intended to be taken seriously, there can be real consequences, both discipline with the school and potentially criminal charges,” says Kerry Delf, a spokeswoman for 4J.
Eugene 4J says it has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to rumors about violence. Any threats will be forwarded to police and investigated. Students involved will face school discipline and could face criminal charges as well.
To ensure safety, normalcy and hopefully spread calm, Eugene Police will have more officers at Eugene school campuses on Friday.
“Because this has been out in the community, out in the air, they're working to ensure that we have additional police officers and we want parents to know that so if they come to their school and they see a police officer there, that does not mean there's an incident at their school. We're working with police to provide more police presence,” says Delf.
So far this week, Eugene Police have investigated at least three different threat-associated rumors at Eugene schools; nothing has been deemed credible. However, one student was arrested for disorderly conducted at North Eugene High School for his role in broadcasting a threat.
Whether it's verbal, written or posted online, any threat can get students in trouble.
If parents choose to keep their children out of school on Friday, 4J says that's okay. However, the district says parents who do choose to pull their kids from class must contact their child's respective school. Schools are required to follow up with all absent children, per Oregon law.