Gary Carpenter

Fern Ridge Families, I wanted to update you with as much information as I can, while not compromising the investigation being done by both local and Federal authorities.

  • What was the threat? In simple terms, it was that violence was going to occur on the EHS campus (there was a minor reference to FRMS)—No specific names were used and it was mostly directed towards staff.
  • Was there more than one person making threats? At this time, we believe it was one person.
  • Why re-open school if the person hasn’t been caught? The decision to close school was made in conjunction and consultation with local authorities, as was the decision to re-open.
  • Is the investigation over? No, multiple law enforcement agencies continue to work this case.  I remain hopeful we will identify the individual(s).
  • Will you continue to provide updates? I will continue to provide updates as warranted.
  • Can I keep my student home from school? If you believe this is what is best for you and your family at this time, then yes.  Please contact the school and work with the office and teachers regarding school work.

Thank-you for your continued patience and understanding.  This incident, ensuring students and staff are safe, and identifying the individuals that are involved, continues to be our top priority.

Gary E. Carpenter, Jr.

Superintendent, Fern Ridge School District

Fern Ridge Families,

Thank you for your patience and understanding in regards to our last-minute closure of school.  Both EHS and FRMS will be operating on a normal Wednesday early release schedule tomorrow, January 5th.

Both local and Federal Law enforcement continue to investigate the anonymous threat that was made against our school community yesterday.  At this time, the origin of the threat has not been identified.  Assuming this threat came from someone in our community, it is likely that a student somewhere knows something that could lead to their identification.  Please speak to your high school age students regarding anything they may have heard or know.  Thank you to the members of our community that did report this to the district.

The vast majority of our young adults are making good decisions, but this is an unfortunate reminder that some youth are using it to cause fear. These threats cause panic and concern for our students and families.  We respectfully ask that parents monitor their student’s social media use, and if you are unable, to restrict access to it.  Resources on how you can support your child in the responsible use of social media can be found at:

The best security system we have continues to be the eyes and ears of our students who contact trusted adults. Please remind your students that we need their help to keep our campuses and community a safe place.  A reminder also that the district utilizes the SafeOregon tipline.  Anyone (student, staff member, or community member) can leave an anonymous tip at 844-472-3367 or through email at tip@safeoregon.com at any time.

Gary E. Carpenter, Jr.

Superintendent, FRSD

Please share the information below.  A phone dialer will go out to all FRMS and EHS families by 7:00 AM tomorrow, January 4th, that summarizes this post.

Fern Ridge Families,

It is important that you are aware of a development in our District involving school safety.

After two threats of violence against Elmira High School that were posted on social media today, Monday January 3rd, I am taking the extraordinary step of cancelling classes at Elmira High School AND Fern Ridge Middle School on Tuesday, January 4th. This is only because investigators are still trying to determine the viability of the threats. We were informed of the threats at approximately 2:15 and 6:30 PM.

Veneta Elementary and Elmira Elementary will remain open on their normal schedules Tuesday. In an abundance of caution law enforcement will be providing an enhanced presence at those sites although there were no threats directed at these schools.

I realize that cancelling classes will be a hardship for many, particularly with such late notice. While it is in my nature to confidently move forward with school, in this particular situation we believe some additional time for law enforcement and the district to investigate will be helpful.  This has been an extremely difficult decision, but when it comes to student safety we must – and do – take threats seriously.

The law enforcement investigation could lead to serious disciplinary action including criminal charges regardless of whether the threats were intended to be taken seriously.

The safety and security of all students and staff is our first priority.  We commend those who have reported these threats. This week, and always, if you hear or see anything that may indicate a safety issue, please report it right away.

I will provide more relevant information on the investigation if and when it becomes available. When students return to school, and I fully expect that to be on Wednesday, we will be reminding them that words do matter.  If anyone has ANY information regarding where these threats may have generated, please contact the school.

Gary Carpenter
Fern Ridge Superintendent

FRSD Community,

The Fern Ridge School District has become aware today of troubling posts that have been shared widely around the country on the social media platform, TikTok.  The posts refer to a threat to school safety for “every school in the United States” on Friday, December 17th.  There has been NO threat to our local schools.

The post appears to be part of a national TikTok trend that did not originate in our school district, or even in Oregon.  KVAL ran a short story on this topic today, that you can view here: https://kval.com/news/nation-world/schools-across-us-respond-to-vague-shooting-threat-circulating-on-tiktok.

All FRSD staff have been informed of this situation. In addition, I have been in contact with local law enforcement and there may be an increased presence around our schools tomorrow.

Last night the District held a forum with a panel of experts on the topics of grief and how to support the youth of our community during this difficult time.  The primary guest speaker was Dr.  Donna Schuurman of the Dougy Center in Portland Oregon.  The Dougy Centers website contains a wide range of resources and can be found here: www.dougy.org

We have added the recording of this meeting at a link at the bottom of our Family Support Coordinator Page.  That page is here: https://www.fernridge.k12.or.us/family-support-coordinator/

Out of an abundance of caution, the School District in consultation with First Student, is announcing a 2-hour delay for tomorrow, Tuesday the 14th.  Typically we will wait until the morning when the weather pattern is uncertain, however Accuweather is showing an  “expected” pattern in the morning that is problematic.  At 4AM It is expected to be 32 degrees, and then get cooler as follows:  5 AM:  31 degrees, 6 AM: 30 degrees, 7 AM: 30 degrees, 8 AM: 29 degrees.

When the driving conditions turn dangerous after 5:30 or 6:00 AM, it is difficult for the District to change course as parents and students are expecting buses to be there to pick up students.  While there certainly is the opportunity for the roads to be fine in the morning, the District will be operating on a 2 hour delay–based on the forecast and roads that are currently very wet.  Any changes or updates will be shared here.  Please pass along this information.  A phone dialer will go out this evening to all families and FRSD staff.

 

Winter weather/road conditions: Our transportation provider has just driven the highest elevation routes.  At this time there is NO need to adjust our release time or routes this afternoon, as long as the temperature stays above freezing.

Please follow this page for any updates in the morning. If there is any kind of delay, routes get moved to “snow routes”, or school is closed, we try to make that decision by 6:30 AM and all information will be shared here, as well as “Superintendent Carpenter Facebook.”

For additional information on bus routes and times, please visit our transportation page.

 

Over the last six weeks, two families and our school community have experienced tremendous loss with the deaths of two students.  The district has been working with multiple support and partner organizations in recent weeks to support students, staff and families.

As a continuation of these services we would like to invite parents to attend a virtual meeting/forum on Wednesday, December 15th, at 6:30 PM.  Our community is grieving and this informational and support night is intended as an opportunity to hear from experts in this field regarding how parents can best support their children who are coping with grief and loss.  Please see the flyer below for all the information, and share with anyone you think may benefit from attending. Direct Zoom Webinar Link Here

person in brown coat and black pants holding a paper maskLast week, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) had two substantive updates to share with schools.

The first was a change to the K-12 face covering rule (OAR 333-019-1015).  This update revised the statewide outdoor face covering requirements.

The revisions have removed the outdoor face covering requirement for K-12 settings.  This will mostly effect district athletics and other organizations that use district facilities for outside events, such as TSP sports and the upcoming tree lighting.

While individual schools/districts  may continue to require students and staff to wear face coverings during outdoor activities, here in FRSD we will continue to operate as we have since the beginning of the pandemic.  That is to say we will follow all mandates, administrative rules and other public health recommendations, but not go above and beyond the requirements absent some specific local metric or need to do so (such as case rates).

The second change was to reduce the quarantine period from 14 days to 10 days for students and staff that are close contacts.

Lane County Public Health is also looking at adopting a new “test to stay” option that is being recommended as an additional mitigation layer that will allow unvaccinated students and staff to maximize days spent in school learning.  As soon as this becomes an option we will share more information here.  This “test to stay  option” is only allowed for close contacts who were exposed in a school setting.  It is not allowed for exposures outside of school, or during athletics.  This process could/would allow unvaccinated asymptomatic individuals who were exposed, to be tested twice during the 7 days following the exposure, and NOT have to quarantine.

The FRSD is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative      Action/Veteran’s Preference employer.

 

The district does not discriminate on the basis of  race, religion, color, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, sex or  age in its programs or activities.

 

FRSD Title IX Coordinator

Michelle Marshall 541-935-2253 Ext 1220

FRSD ADA Title II Coordinator

Gary Carpenter 541-935-2253 Ext 1203

FRSD 504 Coordinator

Rilke Klingsporn 541-935-2253 Ext 1301

88834 Territorial Rd.

Elmira, OR 97437

            

ODE Fall 2023 Title IX Sexual Harassment Training August 2023

Title IX Review & Refresh

Title IX Sexual Harassment Part 1 of 2

Part 2 of 2

 

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