Rowe Middle School student expelled for making threats
Officials confirmed that a Rowe Middle School student has been removed from the school after making threatening statements through a gaming chat room.
Cindy Detchon, executive director of community relations for the North Clackamas School District, and Rowe Principal Greg Harris sent a letter to parents about the incident, in part to explain the presence of three police vehicles parked in front of the school on Monday, June 4.
Milwaukie will also provide police officers for Rowe's June 7 promotion of eighth-graders and their June 13 eighth-grade field trip to Oaks Park. Detchon and Harris said that they weren't made aware of the threat until the weekend of June 2-3.
"We want you to know that we take these incidents very seriously. Please know that the student will not be returning to Rowe," they wrote in the letter to parents. "In an abundance of caution, with the cooperation of Milwaukie Police, we will have police presence on campus for the remainder of the school year. We understand that this creates a heightened level of fear given recent events in our nation. We will also have additional crisis counselors onsite to assist as needed."
According to their letter, the student who saw the threatening posts reported them to a parent, and the Milwaukie Police Department was contacted. Milwaukie detectives visited the child's home and met with the student's parents. A threat assessment was conducted by Clackamas County's mental health and juvenile-assistance officials, who determined that there is not an immediate threat.
Detchon and Harris said in the letter that the safety of all students is their highest priority.
"We are grateful to the students who reported this and the quick response by the Milwaukie Police Department," they wrote. "We are grateful for a community who looks after one another. Thank you for your assistance in keeping our schools safe for everyone."
Harris has been meeting with individual concerned parents to reiterate the school's commitment to safety and security. Detchon said that the district has been careful not to use the word expulsion in reference to what is being done with the student removed from Rowe, although one dictionary definition of expel is to deprive someone of involvement in a school or other organization. According to the district, formal expulsion requires due process and a hearing.
"While the student may very well be in process for that, I can't release any specific student discipline information," Detchon said.
Rowe students joined thousands from dozens of other schools on March 14, as part of a national movement in a walkout. The walkout came one month after 17 students and staff were shot to death during a rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The walkouts were supposed to last 17 minutes, to honor students who were killed Feb. 14 and call for Congress to act on the issue of gun violence.
The latest threats came just prior to the groundbreaking ceremony for renovations and additions at Rowe Middle School, which are part of the 2016 North Clackamas construction bond passed by voters. The groundbreaking for the $17.5 million project will take place Thursday, June 14, at 3603 S.E. Lake Road.