Follow up on Yesterday's Threat to JHS
Dear Jefferson Families and Staff,
Yesterday, the Marion County Sheriff’s Department (MCSD) received a call from a person threatening to cause violence at Jefferson High School. A Deputy assigned to Jefferson was dispatched and was at the school within minutes and the school went into Lockdown, meaning that all students and staff remained in a locked classroom.
This occurred right as school was getting out and students from the elementary school and middle school were on or loading onto buses. Marion County Sheriff Deputies required all students to return to the school so that the perimeter could be secured. Students were calm, organized and cooperative. All elementary and middle school students on the buses went into the middle school. They were placed in classrooms according to their bus number so that they could be easily released. The middle school was in Lockout, meaning that all doors to the outside were locked. Multiple sheriff deputies were on site securing the perimeter and working closely with district leadership.
Students returning from Willamette Career Academy were enroute and diverted to the District Office where they stayed in lockout with district personnel. Jefferson elementary school had no students at the school, and staff remained in Lockout. Students practicing on the track remained with their teacher in the grandstand and the district coordinated with Marion County Sheriff’s to ensure their safety. The District worked with Marion County’s Communications Team and the team at Willamette Education Service District to get out timely messages to parents.
Once the perimeter was secured, MCSD was working to trace the call and found that it had originated from another state. District leadership were informed that it was most likely a ‘swatting’ incident, which is a practice of making a prank call to emergency services in an attempt to bring about the dispatch of a large number of armed police officers to a particular location.
Once the Lieutenant at the scene gave the all clear, the district began a controlled release, beginning with loading the elementary and middle school students onto the buses, followed by the high school bus riders. Buses were released and the other students driving their own car or waiting for a parent to pick them up were allowed to leave.
The Superintendent worked with principals in getting out a follow up message in the evening to parents through Blackboard and Class Dojo.
JSD invited mental health professionals from the Willamette Education Service District to come to the schools this morning to support students and staff who might be traumatized by this event.
While these kinds of events are scary, they are unfortunately a part of our lives and we drill regularly as a precaution. We are very proud of how quickly and effectively staff and students reacted to this situation, especially given the timing of dismissal. It was orderly, calm, efficient and cooperative.
We would like to thank our bus drivers and transportation leadership for their cooperation and support. We would like to thank the swift and incredible response by the Marion County Sheriff’s Department. We would like to thank all district employees involved in supporting students. We would like to thank our students for their cooperation and resiliency. We would like to thank district leadership for working together as a solid team. We would like to thank our partners at the WESD for their support. Most importantly, we would like to thank parents for your patience and cooperation and understanding. These events are scary and we appreciate your trust in our ability to keep your children safe.
Brad Capener, Superintendent
Jefferson School District