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.”
KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970’s. He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.Lyle’s job history is quite colorful.
He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand. A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90’s as a news writer and commercial producer. In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.
“The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain. Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story”.
When he’s not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.