Local schools, police ready to respond to threats

Decision to close a school or school district falls to the superintendent

Music students stand on risers in a Portland school, May 26, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)
School students, May 26, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — In the wake of an anonymous email threat that closed the Los Angeles schools, local police and school districts are reassuring the community they are prepared to handle threats that are received.

Beaverton Police Sgt. Kevin McDonald, a supervisor with the department’s Schools Division, said when he first heard of the situation involving the closure of all schools in Los Angeles he immediately reached out to the security manager for Beaverton School District.

As a result of that conversation police increased patrols throughout the district. Patrol officers will swing by the schools in their coverage area as they can, McDonald told KOIN 6 News. There have been no specific threats made to any of the schools in Beaverton.

McDonald says threats made to schools have changed over the years. Threats can be made anonymously online, made in person or written on a wall or on paper. Each threat is investigated, he said.

Portland Public Schools spokesperson Christine Miles said staff work closely with Portland Police Bureau on a daily basis to evaluate any threats received. She pointed out that last weekend threats of violence were made towards 2 high schools. As a result, police increased patrols.

The decision to close a school or school district falls to the superintendent.

Portland Police Sgt. Pete Simpson said officers will provide the school districts with their best assessment of the threat.

Each threat is handled based on its own merits, McDonald said.

“We look at it, we look at the credibility, (we) try to identify the source and then go from there,” he said.

Miles said it’s extremely important the students understand that if they hear of a threat, even if it may be a joke, that they report it to an adult.

Parents should be aware that if they see something on social media, or through their children, that they should feel assured sharing that information with the school or police.

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