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Mtn. View HS violence rumors stoke fears

By Kim Tobin
Published On: Dec 14 2012 10:06:42 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 17 2012 02:27:33 PM CST

NewsChannel 21's Kim Tobin reports on the Safe Schools Alliance's work to keep High Desert schools safe, and how a Mtn. View HS rumor of school violence already was fueling concern before Friday's tragedy.

BEND, Ore. -

A rumor about a planned school shooting on Dec. 21 at Mountain View High School spread like wildfire throughout the school. Police found there was no danger, but many parents were even more shaken after Friday's school shooting in Connecticut, with one mom even taking her kid out of class.

Watching the devastating scene unfold in Newtown, Connecticut, Jenifer King breaks down into tears.

"There's not a word," King said. "The parents who are waiting for phone calls that they're not going to get -- I mean, I can't imagine."

King struggles to understand the events in Connecticut, but feels blessed to have her son by her side. She took freshman, Matavia, out of school on Wednesday, after he told her about a rumor he'd heard.

"It's not something that happens every day, telling your parents there could be a shooting," Matavia said. "It's scary."

Rumors swirled that someone planned to bring a gun to school, but after days of investigating, Bend police found no truth behind any of the gossip.

"I'd rather have 100 (rumors) a day that we have to investigate, than have one that gets past us, and then we have a tragic incident, like we have on the East Coast," police Lt. Chris Carney said.

Carney says he's thankful several students came forward after hearing the rumor, and hopes they will continue to do so in the future, if they feel threatened.

But King says she's not happy that the school district waiting four days before updating parents.

"I get just rumors that goes around with kids, and that's scary enough," King said. "But when the police are investigating my child's school, I have a right to know, so I can make an educated decision about whether I want to pull my child out of school."

King says she doesn't know when her son will go back to school, but hopes the district and police will be open about anything they find.

"I'm the kind of person who likes to err on the side of communicating with the public in these cases," Carney said. "It does cause a stir at little bit, but it's going to put those parents at ease that will hear about it anyway."

As for the victims of Connecticut's deadly shooting rampage, Matavia says they're in his thoughts.

"I hope it gets better," said Matavia. "I mean, it's not going to get better, but I hope they can find answers."

Bend-La Pine Schools Superintedent Ron Wilkinson issued a statement Friday. He said words cannot express how their hearts are breaking.

On Monday, the district will have counselors and administrators at each school to support students who may be struggles after the act of violence.

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