Woodburn and Gervais school districts had additional police presence on Tuesday

A social media threat directed at Woodburn and Gervais high schools Monday evening was deemed unsubstantiated by the Woodburn Police Department.

School district officials and the Woodburn Police Department were notified of the threat on Monday via SafeOregon, a website that allows students, parents and others to anonymously report possible threats.

"We work really closely with the school district," Woodburn Police Chief Jim Ferraris said. "The superintendent and I spoke last night when we were both at home."

Although the WPD concluded that the threat was unsubstantiated, school officials in both districts, as well as North Marion School District, alerted parents and community members to the threat via social media, email or phone calls.

Woodburn School District posted Monday night on its Facebook page that it was aware of the threat, noting "the Woodburn Police Department is investigating and has not been able to substantiate any threat. The high school will have additional police officers present throughout the day."

Additionally, parents of students at Woodburn High School were notified via phone call, according to WSD Communications and Community Outreach Coordinator Rick Vasquez.

Ferraris stated that the police would monitor the investigation throughout the day and decide if increased presence would be needed throughout the week, but reminded that the department's partnership with the school district keeps school resource officers on campus throughout school hours.

"We have officers embedded in the schools, particularly at the high school and the middle schools," Ferraris said. "In this case at the end of the day, we'll make a determination if any additional presence beyond our normal presence is required."

At the Gervais School District, parents were notified of the threat via the district's website and through Facebook. Additional law enforcement was on campus throughout the day and the school issued a lockout (meaning once students were on campus no one was allowed in or out) in the morning, which was lifted at 11 a.m. Additional after school activities were canceled.

"We work directly with law enforcement to verify credibility of threats and then we make a decision per our crisis plans," Gervais Superintendent Matt Henry said. "Certainly we fall on the side of caution as opposed to the reverse."

At the North Marion School District, parents were notified of the threat Tuesday morning via Facebook and due to the conclusion of the Woodburn Police Department, school was scheduled to continue under regular hours.

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