Social media threat of North Marion Middle School deemed not credible
A social media post implying a Friday shooting at North Marion Middle School has been determined by authorities as not credible.
The post by a student who is enrolled at the school was seen on Instagram Thursday afternoon. The post reportedly contained a photo of bullets with the question posed whether Friday would be a good day for a school shooting.
Parents reported the post to district officials, who contacted Marion County Sheriff's Office. A deputy reportedly met with the family, determined the threat was not credible, and the family deleted the Instagram post. The district sent out an email to all parents.
"I was happy with the quick response by the sheriff's office to determine quickly whether there was an immediate threat and the answer was no," Superintendent Ginger Redlinger said Friday morning. "It showed communication and coordination, all of us working together made it happen. Then ... since a lot had seen (the post) we wanted to respond right away, so we worked to get that out as soon as possible."
Redlinger wasn't sure whether there will be charges filed against the youth.
"There will be school-related consequences," she said. "It was a disruption so we will be working with the family on that."
SafeOregon.com is a tool that parents and students can use to report threats of this nature. This time, however, Redlinger said she personally received a phone call from a parent.
"I like that when parents call right away," she said. "That's wonderful. For students to be safe, the entire community has to be involved. ... Look at your child's Instagram account, see what other kids are posting. Having that kind of involvement helps keep the community safe. It might not be your child but having an eye on everybody's participation, if something's not right, say something."
She said this is the second incident of this nature in the district this school year. In early October, a similar social media threat indirectly targeting North Marion High School was reported. Marion County Sheriff's Office was also involved at the time, and the district sent out information through its autodialer and website.
"Anytime there's an incident there's an opportunity to meet as a group and decide what went well and what we can improve on," Redlinger pointed out, noting that such a meeting was scheduled for Friday.
Additionally, the bond that was approved by voters in November included security upgrades as well as facility maintenance and construction. Every entrance of the facilities will be secured and alarmed, there will be a new camera system, and the new design will force anyone coming onto the campus to enter through that school's office doors first.
"Safety and security became the top priority in the new design," Redlinger said.
She also noted that the district held its last lockout and lockdown drills of the school year just this week.
"It was in the front of our brains," she said. "We practice communication, we go through the protocols. The idea is to be prepared, not scared."