'We went through the entire building, inside and out': Threat closes Oakridge High
OAKRIDGE, Ore. - Oakridge Junior-Senior High School canceled classes Friday after a written threat of a shooting was found inside the school last week.
Patricia Lee says her son recently transitioned from Oakridge Junior-Senior High School to an online program due to his fear of a school shooting.
“It was the Florida shooting," she said. "He couldn't take it anymore."
His mother said his fear of a school shooting got worse after a threat was made against his high school this past February.
“That’s when he started hiding in the bathrooms, saying he had to go to the bathrooms and then he started running away," she said. "He was just scared that he was going to get killed."
This week, school officials say a threat was found inside a pencil box on May 24 threatening a shooting June 1 at noon.
Oakridge school superintendent Dr. Don Kordosky said threats are taken very seriously.
“We did some searches, couldn't find anything, and last night after not being able to determine who did it we decided not to bring in kids today and to do training for teachers on our safety protocol,” Kordosky said Friday.
His goal: to make sure his students and staff returned to a safe place Monday morning.
“We went through the entire building, inside and out," he said. "I personally searched every student hall locker, and we have about 400 of them."
Kordosky said threats like these impact the entire community.
The superintendent said the penalties for making such threats are small in proportion to the impact.
“Right now we are only able to charge kids with disorderly conduct," he said. "It's not severe enough for the magnitude of the threat."
For the remainder of the school year, Kordosky has banned backpacks and requested random searches of anyone who comes in the building.
“I have to really commend this school for getting rid of the backpacks,” Lee said.
But she said her son can no longer walk into the hallways of Oakridge Junior-Senior High School.
“This is why he is in online school," she said. "He absolutely could not face going up to that building."