How to Assess School Threats

Deschutes County District Attorney Talks About Challenges of Preventing Crimes Before they Happen

It’s been a tumultuois year for students across Bend. La-Pine schools, with multiple threats investigated during the last six months. Currently, there are no specific state laws classified as felonies that address those that make actual threats before they carry them out.

Bend La-Pine School Superintendent Shay Mikalson issued a call to action after the threats made in February. Mikalson, as well as Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel, also backed a proposal from state senator Tim Knopp which would’ve made threats of violence a felony.

That proposal was shot down due to concerned over concerns that it infringed on freedom of speech.

Right now, prosecutors in Oregon can only consider menacing, disorderly conduct and harassment charges in order to prosecute individuals who make threats and that only allows misdemeanor charges. Next year in Salem, the hope is to finally create a law that addresses those that make threats before they carry them out.

Central Oregon Daily’s Lisa Carton sat down with Hummel to talk about the challenges he and law enforcement face to try to assess those threats.

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