Thousands March Against Gun Violence in Bend

Nearly 4,000 community members, led by local high school students, gathered in Drake Park on Saturday to participate in the March for Our Lives – a national movement against gun violence sparked by the school shooting in Parkland, Florida that killed 17 people in February.

Demonstrators began gathering in Drake Park around 11 a.m. on Saturday morning. As the crowd grew local high school students gave speeches asking for politicians to do more to keep them safe in schools. One student sang “Imagine” by John Lennon as Bend Mayor Casey Roats and city council member Nathan Boddie stood on stage behind him.

At noon students, carrying a blue ‘March for Our Lives,’ banner led a march through downtown Bend. The march was so large that the students leading the march came back around to Drake Park before many protestors had even left.

Demonstrators said they were marching specifically for common sense gun control measures including banning bump stocks, semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles; and implementing comprehensive background checks and funding mental health care.

This echoed the messages of the roughly 800 marches that took place across the country on Saturday.

Hundreds of thousands of people marched in Washington D.C., which was led by survivors of the Parkland shooting, but was meant to raise awareness for all victims of gun violence.

The Parkland students shared the stage with other young people from across the country including Edna Chavez from Los Angles who lost her brother to gun violence; 11-year-old Naomi Wadler who spoke to raise awareness about African-American women and girls who were victims of gun violence; and Yolanda King, granddaughter of Martin Luther King Jr.

While millions marched across the U.S., the movement did see plenty of criticism.

The NRA out out a video responding to the march, saying that the students leading the march were part of, and funded by, a “liberal agenda.” The video also said that the answer to school safety would be providing funding for armed guards in schools and arming teachers.

Here in Bend, Central Oregon Daily saw plenty of comments against the march on our Facebook page. Many community members expressed that they felt it was ridiculous for people to march against their Second Amendment Rights. Others said they should march against cars, since annually more young people die in car accidents then due to gun violence, and some echoed the NRA’s message that the march was part of a political agenda.

Parents Look for Upgrades in School Safety

Since the shootings in Parkland last month, the discussion surrounding school safety has been led by the surviving students and their peers across the country, but it’s not just the students who are joining the conversation.


Central Oregon Daily’s Anyssa Bohanan sat down with a local parent who’s voicing her concerns about the safety of students in Bend, and what she’s hoping Bend-La Pine Schools will do to address them.

Lisa Carton also sits down with Bend-La Pine School District’s Deputy Superintendent Jay Mathisen to see how the district is reacting to these requests from students and parents.

Bend-La Pine School Officials Weigh Options for Protecting Staff and Students on Campus

With thousands of students speaking out Wednesday on National Walkout Day in Bend and across the country, Central Oregon Daily’s Lisa Carton sat down with a member of the Bend-La Pine School District to discuss the challenges facing school administrators and teachers as they try to keep our students safe on campus.

Bend Students Plan to Walkout

Bend Teenagers Organizing a Wednesday Walkout to Pay Tribute to Parkland High School Shooting Victims

Wednesday has been declared “National Walkout Day” by students across the country who want to pay tribute to the 17 victims of the Parkland, Florida High School shootings by walking out of their classrooms for 17 minutes on the one-month anniversary of the tragedy.

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.

Student Arrested for School Threats

15-Year Old Arrested After Making Threats Against La-Pine High School

Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Oregon deputies arrested a 15-year old boy on Wednesday for making threats against La-Pine High School. 
The student who made the threats is in custody at the Deschutes County Juvenile Justice Facility facing three counts of disorderly conduct.
Authorities say that a student approached a school resource officer at La Pine High School around 7:30 this morning to tell the officer of the threat.
The deputy was able to locate and remove the suspect and found out that this was not the first time that the 15-year-old had made threats against the school.
Deschutes County Sheriff’s Deputies will provide an increased presence at all of La-Pine’s schools on Thursday.

On to the Playoffs

 

The Summit High School Storm went on the road for their play-in game on Wednesday night and upset Parkrose 55-54 to advance to the First Round of the OSAA 5A Basketball Playoffs on Saturday.
With the Storm’s victory, there will be three IMC teams in the 5A Boys Playoffs – Summit, Bend and Mountain View High School

The Bend Senior High boys beat St. Helen’s 65-42 in a home play-in game on Wednesday night.
A slow start for both teams ended with an 11-10 deficit for Bend at he end of the first quarter, but the Lava Bears used a 20-8 second quarter to take a 30-19 halftime lead, and they never looked back.
Justin Kerr had 20 points including four 3-pointers, and Brian Warriner has 18 points to lead the Lava Bears.
Bend advances to the first round of the OSAA 5A basketball playoffs on Saturday.

In Girls Basketball news the matchups were set for 5A Girls Basketball Playoffs.

Oregon School Activities Association has released the matchups for the First Round of the 5A Girls Basketball Playoffs on Friday.
The Bend Lava Bears will host Lebanon, while the Ridgeview High School (Redmond, Oregon) Ravens will go on the road to play at Springfield.
Both games tip-off at 6pm.

 

Playoff Picture

High School Basketball Playoffs Tip-Off This Week

Central Oregon Daily’s Eric Lindstrom takes a look at the playoffs in high school basketball with several games on tap over the next few days.
Here is the full 5A and 4A playoff schedule for boys and girls:

Boys 5A Play-In Games

Tuesday

St. Helens at Bend 5:30pm
Summit at Parkrose 6pm

Girls 5A Play-in Games

Tuesday

Putnam at Ridgeview TBA
Summit at Hillsboro 5pm

Girls 4A Playoff Game

Friday

#9 Valley Catholic at #8 Madras 6:30pm

Boys 4a Playoff Games

Saturday

#16 Madras at #1 Banks 3pm
#9 Henley at #8 Sisters 5pm

Bend-La Pine Schools Superintendent Calls for New Measures to Protect Students

Bend-La Pine Schools Superintendent Shay Mikalson sent out a letter to parents and students on Monday afternoon, calling for new laws to protect teachers and students at schools.

In the letter, Mikalson asks lawmakers to:
1) Create a new crime in Oregon of “terroristic threat” at a felony level.
2) Fund threat assessment teams to provide threat assessments to youth in crisis.
3) Extend the maximum detention from 36 hours to 10 days for misdemeanor charges filed against youth with weapons offenses or who have made threats against others.
The letter comes a week after a 16-year-old boy was arrested for making threats against unspecified threats against students at Bend Senior High School.

 

Here is the letter from Shay Mikalson in full:
February 26, 2018

Greetings Bend-La Pine Schools Community,

Last week I shared with you a few of the ways that our schools are working to ensure physical and emotional safety at our schools. Today, I want to share with you the ways that you can join me in these efforts. By acting together, we can exponentially increase our positive impact as we continue to advocate for the safe learning environments our students and staff deserve.

Urge Lawmakers to Create New Laws
Please join me in urging our elected official to create new laws that immediately help to improve school and community safety throughout Oregon. Our elected officials are receiving many big asks right now, so I have identified three that I believe are easy to implement now, during their short session.

I am asking lawmakers to:
1. Create a new crime in Oregon of terroristic threat at a felony level.
2. Fund threat assessment teams to provide threat assessments to youth in crisis.
3. Extend maximum detention from 36 hours to 10 days for misdemeanor charges filed against youth with weapons offenses or who have made threats against others.

I sent messages to our state representatives and senators this morning urging their support of these school and community safety efforts that I believe must be moved to law during the current short session. You can see these letters and learn more about these asks at http://www.bend.k12.or.us/letters

Secure Weapons, Pills from Children
I plead that you take a moment to secure weapons and pills in your homes in ways that do not allow access to children. It is important to understand that everyone experiences tough times. During these tough times, it may be best to give your weapons or pills to a friend for safekeeping. Temporarily holding pills, a gun, knife or other weapon for a loved one or friend can help that person get through stressful periods safely. It is a temporary step until things get better.

Additionally, our friends at the Bend Police Department are offering free cable locks. Just drop by their main office to pick one or more up for your home, office or vehicle. Locking up weapons may also reduce the number of stolen guns in our community. On average, in Bend alone, at least one weapon is stolen out of an unlocked vehicle each week. Imagine how – by working together ‑ we could reduce this number dramatically and keep weapons out of the hands of our youth.

Facility Safety Improvements, Including Secure Lobbies
In 2014, we hired an international expert on school safety and his team to assess our school safety practices and to assess our facilities and provide architectural observations. You may have noticed many changes that we have made since this time, including requiring visitors enter through main entries, requiring visitors and volunteers to check-in and out of our schools, locking exterior doors, improvements in exterior lighting and many other efforts.

This assessment suggested the addition of secure lobbies at all of our schools. We successfully piloted a secure lobby design at several school sites before asking voters to fund the construction of secure lobbies at all schools in 2017. Thanks to your overwhelming support of the May 2017 construction bond, work to deliver secure lobbies at our schools is currently underway. The work at the more than 20 school sites was previously planned through the bond to occur over the next four summer construction seasons.

I have been meeting with teams to evaluate how we can speed up this work and we have made a decision to accelerate our schedule. By allowing construction to happen in our schools during the school year, rather than just during the summer months, the work to secure our lobbies will be expedited. As we work through the logistics of the accelerated secure lobby schedule, we will continue to keep families updated.

Visible Visitors, Volunteers and Staff
Until these lobbies are complete, we are making efforts to ensure visibility of visitor access through improved line of sight on entries and diligent supervision. You, too, can help ensure a safer school environment by always checking into our main offices for permission to visit and wearing proper identification. You can also help by sending anyone without proper identification – including our staff – to the Human Resources office for a visitor badge or replacement staff badge.

Counselors and Support Staff

This school year, we added additional counselors to our secondary schools. We currently have more than 30 counselors who meet with students each day at our middle and high schools. In addition, schools have psychologists who provide student support and advocacy at all elementary, middle and high schools. We also employ two full-time therapists who support our highest needs students at our schools in Bend, La Pine and Sunriver.

We staff schools in ways that ensure students have access to mental and behavioral health support at school with the funding available. We could do even more with better support from our legislature. If this is something you are passionate about, I ask that you contact your elected officials to make increased funding available for the hiring of additional positions to support our students’ social and emotional health needs.

Planning, Prevention, Intervention and Response
Safe schools are fundamental to students’ school successes and achievements. Providing a safe and orderly school environment is an ever-present priority of Bend-La Pine Schools. Here, school safety is addressed through a comprehensive approach that focuses on planning, prevention, intervention and response. Systems and programs are in place that create caring school communities where students and staff feel safe and supported. Bend-La Pine Schools is committed to ensuring psychologically safe, healthy learning environments. You can learn more about these efforts by visiting our Emergency Preparedness webpage and our Student Mental Health webpage.

I am thankful for you, our wonderful Bend-La Pine Schools community. Thank you for caring for and supporting not only our students but each other.

Sincerely,

Shay Mikalson, Superintendent Bend-La Pine Schools