Woodburn, Gervais districts address threat to schools
UPDATE: A juvenile has been taken into custody in connection with the social media incident. Woodburn Police Department, assisted by Gervais Police Department and Marion County Sheriff's Office, is continuing the investigation.
A social media post allegedly threatening Woodburn and Gervais schools has been deemed "not credible" by school officials.
As a precaution, Gervais School District issued a "lockout" on its campus, meaning no one would be allowed to come and go from the schools without the approval of the principal or law enforcement. The lockout was lifted at 9:15 a.m.
The Woodburn School District did not issue a lockout, but rather sent out a message to parents Friday morning regarding threats to local schools but declaring there is no danger to staff and students.
The message, sent via email, autodialer and Facebook, stated that the recent tragedy in Florida, in which 17 people were killed when a gunman entered a high school earlier this month, has resulted in an increase in social media threats around the country, including locally.
"Local area schools have recently been the focus of such a claim which has not been proven to be credible," the message reads. "All threats are taken seriously and investigated thoroughly. There is no danger to staff and students at this time."
The message continues that the district has a zero tolerance policy for threats to students and staff. If anyone hears of a threat, contact the Woodburn Police Department or your school's office.
"The police department is aware of the situation, and we will investigate and prosecute those responsible," the message said.
But this message didn't assuage all parents' fears. After receiving the message, one parent called the school office and was told the Woodburn Police Department had advised the district not to give more information.
"I'm frustrated at this because as parents we need to have specifics so we can make an informed decision about our child's safety," the parent told the Independent.
Superintendent Chuck Ransom also issued a letter on the district website.
"In addition, please talk with your student about acting appropriately during this time," the letter reads. "Any effort to mimic the behavior on social media through posts is considered threatening."
Anyone believing there is a threat to safety can report it at any time at www.safeoregon.com.