Safeway shooter’s online threats raise concerns about CO schools’ safety measures

(Update: Added videos, details of ongoing efforts)

School districts say they are continuing efforts to keep campuses safe

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) — With the Safeway shooting on the east side of Bend claiming the lives of two central Oregonians on Sunday night, one of whom fought heroically to disarm the shooter, questions about school safety were raised by community members.

According to messages posted by the shooter online just before the tragic chain of events, he had planned to go to Mountain View High School on the first day of class on September 8 and shoot students and staff on campus.

It has raised questions throughout central Oregon about school safety and steps being taken to increase safety.

Over the years, Bend-LaPine schools have taken steps to improve the safety of staff and students. These improvements include social media monitoring to identify threats before something happens, secure perimeters, a single point of access, and a lock strike on all exterior doors if necessary.

Here are a few things the district has shared that are still ongoing: more cameras in hallways and bathrooms, and the use of card access for doors to help monitor those entering and exiting.

As for the Redmond School District, Superintendent Dr. Charan Cline said he is constantly working on preventative, physical and operational security.

“We have five school resource officers patrolling our buildings, and we have a great relationship with our police department,” Cline said. “Our people are trained, our personnel are trained on how to react, if there is an active shooter.”

Crook County School District Superintendent Dr. Sara Johnson said the goal is to upgrade basic facility needs, as well as camera systems.

“Cameras are extremely useful for tracking areas that aren’t fully exposed,” Johnson said.

Crook County Schools’ $66 million bond measure to improve school safety and security was lost with nearly 52% in opposition earlier this year. Johnson said there could be a new proposal on the ballot next May, which would also include improvements to entry points. With the support of the community, she hopes these changes can be made to better protect staff and students.

The Jefferson County School District sent NewsChannel 21 the following statement:

Below are some steps the district is taking to continue to improve school safety every day.

  • Key district personnel participated in safety training over the summer. This training prepared us for a range of emergency situations.
  • The district is working diligently to improve security card access in all of our schools. This work is made possible thanks to the voters who support our Bond 2021.
  • Schools will continue to have a single point of entry for all visitors.
  • We continue to stress to our staff and students the importance of ensuring doors are secure at all times.
  • All of our schools have safety protocols for visitors and volunteers. We ask our families to help us by following these protocols when entering a school building.
  • We hold routine safety drills at all of our schools to better prepare our students and staff.
  • We have very strong partnerships with our law enforcement and emergency service providers.

Cline said: “As much as we would like to pretend things can’t happen here, they sure can. Truly, school safety is a community responsibility.”

If you hear or see concerning behavior, be sure to report it to your local police or the Safe Oregon Tip Line.