PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Parents in Corbett are demanding answers, saying it took the school district a month to notify them after a student posted a so-called “kill list.” Now, Corbett teachers are voicing concern about safety on campus.
This has brought up questions about how secure the campus is, and has prompted a group of parents to send a letter to the superintendent, high school principal and school board members.
According to the parents KOIN 6 News talked to, the superintendent learned about the “kill list” in July — however, the superintendent waited four weeks to notify families whose children were on the list.
In the letter sent by a group of parents to the district on Tuesday, parents wrote “please understand that when the District failed to notify parents of the threat for a month, the District assumed responsibility for watching over every one of the homes and children threatened without the actual capacity to physically do so.”
A Corbett teacher, who asked to remain anonymous, reached out to KOIN 6 News concerned about the district’s safety practices.
“At yesterday’s in-service training, the superintendent’s recorded message to staff did not mention safety, nor did the school board chair mention safety. The high school principal said that Corbett has the most lax security of any school she has worked at,” the teacher said.
She added that she thinks it’s scary that the only new security measures mentioned by the district are to lock the chain link gates and front doors.
“The chain link fence is not much of a barrier. So, what about all the doors behind the fence? What about the classroom doors? There’s more to be done,” she stated. “They need to look at everything and make changes to protect kids and regain the trust of the community. Corbett students are my heart, have been for many years. The district can do better.”
The letter from parents demands that the district undertake a comprehensive independent safety audit. It requests that all classroom and exterior doors remain locked at all times and urges the district to update its method for notifying teachers and students when there is an emergency on campus.
It also asks that district leaders commit to notifying parents immediately if their child is a target of a threat.
Oregon law says a superintendent is required to notify a parent or guardian within 12 hours if a threat is made while at school. However, parents are asking Corbett school leaders to notify families right away even if the threat is made outside of school.
The Oregon Department of Education told KOIN 6 News “a threat assessment team already considers a wide swath of information when assessing a potential threat. That can include activity that happens outside of school if it affects the school community during school. However, we need to be clear that school officials may not have full awareness of threats that occur outside of school.”
ODE added that OAR 581-022-2225 requires schools to have a “comprehensive safety program” which should include “plans for responding to emergency situations.”
“This OAR also requires schools to conduct drills and have instruction on a number of safety threats, including a ‘lockdown’ drill,” ODE said.
KOIN 6 News reached out to the district about the letter but has not heard back at this time. KOIN 6 News has also not heard back from senators on the Oregon Education Committee regarding their opinion on if the law should be expanded to require mandatory reporting regardless of where the threat is made.