BEND, Ore. - Last week’s threat to blow up a math class at Bend Mountain View High School was traced to a 14-year-old Eugene boy who could face felony computer crime charges, police said late Tuesday. The teen apparently was trying to disrupt a former friend's school in another state, but a Google search led him to the Bend school instead, officers said.
Last Wednesday, Bend-La Pine Schools received a threat through their website, stating a former student would blow up a math class on Friday, said police Lt. Clint Burleigh.
The threat was taken seriously and reported to Bend police, who spent two days investigating the threat. The work included the Mountain View school resource, several detectives and an FBI agent, who Burleigh said "worked diligently with Bend-La Pine IT staff to find the person who made the threat."
The person's identity was not found during the 48 hours, but Burleigh said in a news release that "school and police officials felt it was safe for the students of Mt. View High School to attend" classes on Friday. A sweep of the school was conducted early Friday by members of the Central Oregon Emergency Response Team, comprised of officers from agencies throughout the tri-county area.
Burleigh said the officers spent several hours Friday morning making sure the school was safe from suspicious devices and stayed afterward to make sure the students felt safe.
The investigation continued throughout Friday and into Monday, Burleigh said. The threat was issued through a browser known as "TOR," used for anonymous communication. But Burleigh said the Bend-La Pine Schools IT staff were able to identify information that led FBI investigators to a suspect in Eugene.
The FBI assisted and made contact with people living at a residence the IP address came back to. During their interview, they learned a 14-year-old boy had made the threat. The school was thought to be in another state but the teen sent it to Mt. View High School in Bend.
Burleigh said the teen's message purported to be from a friend, claiming to be a former student at the school and threatening to blow up the Frday math class.
Burleigh said charges that could stem from such a threat could include computer crime -- a Class C felony -- and disorderly conduct, a Class A misdemeanor.
Once all the information is gathered, it will be sent to the Deschutes County District Attorney's Office/Juvenile Department, where charges could be filed against the teen, Burleigh said.
"Cyber-bullying and Internet safety is a very real and important mission to tackle in our community today," Burleigh said in the release. "A decision to disrupt a former friend's school turned a school community upside down. "
"As parents, teachers and mentors, it is important to convey the message of safety to our children and community members," he said. "The actions we take online may not just effect the intended 'targets,' but likely more people and possibly in other communities.
"This incident in particular used more than 10 law enforcement officers and multiple Bend-La Pine school staff on multiple days. It disrupted an entire school community for a day and, most importantly, placed fear into community members of Bend," Burleigh said.
The KIDS Center is offering training at Pacific Crest Middle School on Thursday, November 30 and will be offering tools to help you support your student's use of internet technology, Burleigh said. Learn more about it at http://www.kidscenter.org.
"Local and federal agencies worked together with the Bend-La Pine School District to successfully confront this threat," Burleigh concluded. "Any future threats to our schools will be pursued with this same tenacity."