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Parent of Ponderosa Elementary first-grader voices concern over classmate’s threat; district says it wasn’t ‘credible’

(Update: Adding video, comments from concerned parent)

Threat assessment team makes determination; 'school took appropriate action'

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A parent's disturbing report that a Ponderosa Elementary School first-grader had made violent threats spread quickly online Monday morning, but a Bend-La Pine Schools official said a threat assessment team investigated and determined it was not "a credible threat."

The parent contacted NewsChannel 21 Monday morning, claiming a first-grader had made violent threats at school last Friday. Soon, a similar post was spreading in viral fashion on Facebook.

The parent said the child was asked to apologize, but that otherwise "nothing is being done."

"I think that is unacceptable," the parent said. "I can't let my daughter go to school, with good conscience, once I have that fear."

The concerned parent told us they kept their first-grader home from Ponderosa, which held classes on Monday. He was concerned about the violent words from his child's classmate.

According to the parent, after the initial threat, the principal at Ponderosa had the student apologize to the class. But days later, the student repeated the frightening words.

"She's in the same class, sits at the same table," the parent said. "And that's the scary part -- if the kid has a gun, it's right there. It's less than a foot from my daughter."

Bend-La Pine Schools Communications Manager Scott Maben told NewsChannel 21 Monday morning that he had not yet spoken with the school's principal, but added, "I can tell you this was not a credible threat."

"We do encounter situations like this, involving young students saying things, from time to time," he told NewsChannel 21 a short time later.

"In every instance, the district conducts a threat assessment to determine if the threat is credible, and if the student may pose a risk of harm to themself or others," Maben added.

"We also work with law enforcement on any investigation that is needed. Typically, students this young do not understand the consequences of their choice of words when they may be reacting to feeling angry or frustrated.

"For this situation at Ponderosa, the threat assessment team determined there was not a credible threat. In addition, the school took appropriate action with the student and the student’s family. We are not able to share those details," Maben said.

Every school in the Bend-La Pine district has a threat assessment team, according to Bend police.

The school district says "appropriate action" was taken with the student and the child's family, but didn't give specifics.

Bend Police did confirm they were aware of the situation, but don't believe the threat to be credible.

The parent who raised the concern about the incident told us, "I hope that this is nothing. And I hope that if the child has emotional problems, then he does get help."

Information about the student threat assessment system and policies on related issues can be found on the school district's emergency preparedness and safety resources web pages.

Article Topic Follows: Crime And Courts

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Blake Mayfield

Blake Mayfield is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Blake here.

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Barney Lerten

Barney is the digital content director for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Barney here.


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