La Pine High School students and staff tried to proceed with classes as usual Monday, but a threat posted on Facebook by a student to shoot students -- joke or not -- was treated as a very serious matter, with one student arrested and another questioned.
And it served as a lesson or reminder to others that there are some things you just can't joke about without facing repercussions.
Most of the people I talked to at the school said they felt school officials and the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office did the right thing by not dismissing it.
Late Monday afternoon, Deschutes County sheriff's Lt. Kevin Dizney said the arrested teen was charged with disorderly conduct, a Class A misdemeanor. He was taken to the county's juvenile detention center and later released, with a pending court date later this month.
"No evidence was located during the investigation to substantiate the suspect took any substantial step toward carrying out this threat," Dizney wrote, adding that the teen's name won't be released, since the charges don't "rise to a level warranting the release of juvenile identities.:
However, he also said the case was forwarded to the district attorney's office for review and consideration of charges.
Sophomore Kersey Bailey said she'd seen the posted threat Sunday night -- something along the lines of, "I'm going to shoot up the school tomorrow. You're all going to die." -- and she didn't really think anything of it at the time, since she knows the unidentified student well.
With one 17-year-old arrested on disorderly conduct charges -- other possible charges are pending -- and another interviewed about what was said, school officials and deputies tried to strike a balance between alarming students or parents and dismissing it as just a case of dark humor gone too far.
"In this day and age, we have to take something like that very, very seriously," said Principal Jay Mathisen. "We can't put ourselves in the position of evaluating the intentions of what a student may or may not have meant to communicate."
Most students seemed reassured by a message read to all students as the day began (see the full news release and message below).
"It's a pretty normal day," said junior Ashley Ferns. "I don't feel any less safe, I don't feel threatened at all."
Those who knew the two 17-year-olds said they didn't believe there was anything serious to the matter.
"They just don't really seem like the type that would do that," said junior Ashlee Horn, "and I guess how they were saying it seemed more like a joke."
Junior Gavin Boen said, "I was kind of surprised at what happened -- I didn't see it coming at all."
It also served as a lesson to some teens -- that there are some things it's never good to joke about.
"Now I feel bad that I didn't pay more attention to it," said Bailey. "I didn't take it as a big deal, and that could happen -- like it could have actually happened, if someone didn't report it."
Here's the full information as provided in a news release by sheriff's Lt. Kevin Dizney:
(Suspect) White Juvenile Male 17 years old
(Person of Interest) White Juvenile Male 17 years old
On March 5, 2012, at approximately 0515 hours, the Deschutes County Sheriff?s Office received information from Bend-La Pine Schools administrators of a possible threat by a student to bring a gun to school and engage in shooting students at La Pine High School today. This message was discovered on a social media site.
The sheriff?s office, in coordination with La Pine High School, was able to identify and locate the student at home prior to school starting. The initial investigation at this time has not identified any substantial step on the part of a student to carry out this threat, but the sheriff?s office is continuing this investigation and further information will be released when available.
The student is currently in the custody of the sheriff?s office. Arrest charges are pending at this time. A second student has been contacted as well and is currently speaking with deputies of the sheriff?s office about his knowledge of the incident. He is not currently a suspect at this time, but has information important to the investigation.
The Deschutes County Sheriff?s Office and Bend-La Pine Schools are committed to the safety of the citizens of Deschutes County and take any threat to the safety of public schools as a serious matter. Threats such as this impact the quality of life of all citizens and will be investigated thoroughly to ensure persons responsible for such threats are identified and brought to justice.
There is currently no known threat to La Pine High School staff or students and classes are continuing as scheduled. The Deschutes County Sheriff?s Office Detective Division is currently continuing this investigation.
Below is a copy of information that was released to teachers at La Pine High School to be read to students during their first classes to inform them of this incident: