No ongoing threat at Willamette High School, police say

The situation has been resolved, police say.

Posted: Dec 3, 2021 10:28 AM
Updated: Dec 3, 2021 7:37 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Despite reports of a possible threat at Willamette High School, there are no ongoing concerns for the community at this time, police say.

The report came in just before 4:30 p.m. on Thursday. It was related to a student and the possible possession of a gun, police said.

Eugene Police and the Bethel School District responded to the situation, and the student was identified and contacted. The situation has been resolved, police added.

Superintendent Kraig Sproles said the district contacted police after one concerned student came to staff. 

"They determined that it wasn't a viable threat at that time, but it was a student that we needed to reach out to and support. And so that support is happening with that student and that family today. And that all happened yesterday after school was dismissed," Sproles said. 

Sproles said there was still some confusion on Friday, and a lot of misinformation was being spread on social media about what actually happened. A student accidentally pulled a fire alarm Friday morning, and because of rumors spreading on social media of a possible school shooting, some parents came to the school early in the day to pick up their kids.

This includes parents like Shawn Butler and his wife. They have a freshman and a junior at Willamette High School.

"It's the scariest thing you can hear," Butler said. "I mean I know when I was in high school, this wasn't even a thought. I never even had heard of a school shooting. Never was this in my mind."

Butler said he and other parents are concerned about why they weren't informed about the possibility of a threat sooner. Sproles said every situation is different, and parents are notified if there is an active threat.

"If it's something where it's a viable threat or it's something where the police would say, 'We're not quite sure about this,' then we would take action and send it out. But there isn't a hard and fast rule," Sproles said.

RELATED: Manhunt underway for parents of Michigan shooting suspect, but attorneys say they are not fleeing

He also said that talk of guns could stem from situations like the shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan earlier this week, where four students were killed and seven people were injured. And Butler said it's a shooting like the one in Michigan that has him sitting down with his kids and having tough conversations.

"They said they're very afraid, that they try not to let it bother them, but it's always in their mind," Butler said.

Sproles also said he is working with the school board and will continue to keep students and parents informed. As for Butler, he said he isn't asking for much.

"The school should be the safest place that your child is going," he said. "All I can ask for is if you do hear about somebody bringing a gun is to tell people."

RELATED: Lockdown lifted at Lebanon High School 

This comes amid a lockdown at Lebanon High School Friday morning over a reported threat. Officials there say investigators found the threat was not correct and a student was misunderstood by a classmate. They thanked the parent who brought the situation to their attention.

MORE: Nearby robbery leads to lockout at Sheldon High

Sheldon High School also found itself on a lockout Friday, in this instance due to police activity more than a mile away from the school. Officials said administrators and police wanted to play it safe.

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