Tualatin High student arrested for 'Columbine' threats
TUALATIN - Columbine-like threats ended with one Tualatin High School sophomore being placed under arrest Wednesday. The 15-year-old was referred to the Washington County Juvenile Department on charges of disorderly conduct, according to the Tualatin Police Department.
'Zero tolerance,' said Tigard-Tualatin School District spokeswoman Susan Stark Haydon. 'We have zero tolerance for threats.'
The student has been placed on suspension and has been recommended for expulsion. The district has 10 days to schedule an expulsion hearing.
According to a Tualatin police press release, a student informed School Resource Officer Mark Waddell around 10 a.m. Wednesday that another student had made threats to 'pull a Columbine tomorrow.' The student reportedly also made mention of trench coats and guns and was seen pointing at other students with a 'finger gun.'
Columbine is a reference to a school-shooting incident in April of 1999 where two teenage students killed 12 classmates and a teacher. The incident in Colorado is considered one of the deadliest school shooting events in the history of the United States.
Within 10 minutes of receiving the initial report, Waddell, with the help of Vice Principal Jarvis Gomes, had the threat-making student identified and in the school's office.
According to the police, officers are continuing to follow up on the threat. Police made contact with the student's parents to ensure that the student had no access to weapons. According to reports, the parents informed police that the family has no weapons in the home.
The police are crediting the fast resolution of the threat to the quick actions of the reporting student, the school staff and the police officers.
Stark Haydon said that the immediate action by staff to preserve the safe environment at the schools is the highest priority.
Earlier this month, the Tigard-Tualatin School Board discussed workshop topics for the next school year, which included how to handle 'marginalized students and what (the school board) can do to keep Columbine from happening.'
Stark Haydon noted that the school district has dealt with similar school violence threats in the past but not often.
'In the last month, a bunch of school incidents have raised awareness again,' she said.