Central Oregon's Safe School Alliance met Wednesday, and while the Connecticut school shootings weighed on everyone's minds, there was another matter closer to home to deal with -- the continuing rumors of threats of violence at area high schools, as seen elsewhere in the state and nation as well.
The Safe School Alliance gets together every month to talk about ideas, issues, everything involving whats going on inside and outside the schools. But No. 1, of course, is safety.
Days before the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., social media already was buzzing with people asking about or saying they'd heard rumors of shootings or other violence planned at Bend's Mountain View High School or other schools in the area. Many of the rumors focused on Friday, being called "the end of the world" by some, based on the Mayan calendar.
Police and school have investigated the rumors and so far have found nothing to substantiate them.
Rumors have arisen at schools from Crook County to Redmond, Eugene and Portland. Officers say their investigations have found no truth behind the rumors, but they are continuing to keep close watch.
Social media like Facebook and Twitter are how the rumors are spread, if not originated.
School officials have been talking to teachers, parents, students, people in the community and say they have found it's not specifically one person or group making these threats. But a lot of people say, 'I've heard that,' or "What if..."
At Wednesday's meeting, alliance members were reminded that crisis response teams are available and ready to go, if needed.
"We want to encourage parents to know that we think about these things all the time," said Lee Gilberg, a school resource officer in Redmond. "We have special tactical teams in training that's based on best practices throughout the nation. This isn't a new trend, and we are prepared to deal with that."