KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. – Four schools in Klamath County have been targets of false threats of violence over the past two weeks.
An inappropriate joke caused big problems at Henley High School Thursday.
“It was some boys talking about the national threats,” explained Klamath County Sheriff Chris Kaber. “And one of them made kind of a joking comment that he was going to shoot up the school.”
Henley High Principal Jack Lee said that some students took the threat seriously. “We probably had 8 or 10 students that were freaked out, for better words.”
The student who made the comment has been cited by deputies for disorderly conduct.
Principal Lee said an unrelated threat was found later in the day in a men’s room. “Another threat, written on the wall, saying that ‘I’m going to shoot the school up’.”
The school is offering a $500 reward to find out who wrote that threat.
Sheriff Kaber hopes someone comes forward. “I’m kind of hoping that one of these guy’s friends turns him in, and gets $500,” he said.
Reporting on the threats also raises some ethical questions in newsrooms. When asked if the reports helping to notify the public of a potential threat, or do the reports give unnecessary attention to a prankster, Sheriff Kaber replied, “I’m just about to the point where I think we need to stop talking about it. It seems like the more we talk about it, the more it happens – and we know they’re not serious threats for the most part.”
“The problem that we’re having is, are these things,” said Principal Lee, holding up a cell phone, and noting the connections to social media. “That is sending out wrong information – and that happened a lot in the last 24 hours.”
The principal said attendance was down slightly Friday. “We’ve had a few based on yesterday’s events – it is Friday, and it’s snowy out – so there’s some of that going on, too.”