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Police, Schools Up Security from Threats

MEDFORD, Ore. – Police are responding to reports of gun threats in Medford schools but a threat school districts are hearing across the nation.

District officials and police said Facebook and other social media websites are feeding into these types of rumors. They believe the recent shootings at the Clackamas Town Center Mall and in Connecticut are heightening people’s fears. Plus, the belief that the end of the Mayan calender means the world is ending adds to the fears.  But these tragedies are a reminder for both officers and school officials about working together on prevention.

The Medford Police Department has six full time officers both inside and outside of the schools everyday around various schools.

“Their job is to keep their ear to the ground both with students, staff, and parents to find out what’s going on. So, that is something that is an every day thing not just because it’s the 21st of December. When someone says something and when students expres their concerns to us,  about someone or something, then we have the ability to step in front of them and do something,” said Medford Police Chief, Tim George.

The district has already been reviewing safety protocols with staff since last Friday.

“We need to review all of our plans and things like that. So, we remember if something were to happen, what we would do and before we even focus on reading and writing, we are making sure people are in a safe environment,” said the Medford School District Superintendent, Dr. Phil Long.

The Medford school superintendent posted a letter for parents and the community online on the districts website. Click here to see it.

A local parent also forwarded an e-mail sent to parents from the North Medford High School principal:

Dear Parents and Guardians,

You may have recently heard of rumors regarding schools and threatening behavior. Through the various social media networks, rumors are passed along and amplified, which cause both student and parent concern. The Administrative team and our on-campus police support, Officer Whiteman, appreciate our students and parents for everyone’s efforts to keep us informed.

The recent tragic events in Newtown, Connecticut, coupled with the media attention around the Mayan calendar generates considerable conversation in a variety of circles. Please know that our school district is working closely with the Medford Police Department to ensure that school is a safe place for everyone.

We will keep you informed through email communication and our website.

Thank you,

Ron F. Beick

Principal

North Medford High School