Adrian youth suspended after school threat


ADRIAN – Two Adrian middle school students were suspended Wednesday morning because school officials believed they made a threat to commit a violent act.

Casey Walker, a member of the Adrian School Board, said the two eighth-grade boys were overheard late Tuesday afternoon saying they would “spare no one” in an attack on their school.

Kevin Purnell, superintendent of Adrian School District, said he learned of the threat at 5:20 p.m. Tuesday and immediately notified the Malheur County Sheriff’s Office.

“They took over and investigated it and got back to me about 9:30 p.m.,” said Purnell. 

He said the sheriff’s office determined that a youth said “something stupid.”

“From their perspective, it was not a serious threat but the kids said something they shouldn’t have said,” Purnell said.

However, Thursday morning Brian Wolfe, Malheur County Sheriff, said his office is not finished investigating the incident.

“I don’t want to say anything on this until we are done with it,” said Wolfe.

Purnell said Wednesday morning he and school officials met with the two boys and their parents and “disciplinary action was taken.”

“We felt that the action that was taken fit the circumstances,” said Purnell.

Walker said the boys were suspended. This is the final week of school in Adrian and most eighth graders attended a graduation ceremony Wednesday night. 

Purnell said the district did not notify any other Adrian parents of the incident. 

“We notified the authorities. They came back and said basically this was a non-threat. That it was two junior high kids joking around,” said Purnell.

Still, Walker said, the incident was troubling.

“Just because parents don’t have weapons doesn’t mean kids can’t get them. I take threats like that very seriously. This upsets me,” said Walker.

Purnell said the incident was a serious matter that compelled him and other school leaders to act promptly.

“It caused a disruption in our entire school,” he said.

Area schools have managed a handful of similar threats this academic year. Authorities found no weapons in any of the cases, but the teens involved were charged in juvenile court.

A similar incident occurred earlier this month at the Nyssa School District when a 13-year-old middle school student penned a note that threatened a violent act against the principal and another student. He was later charged with disorderly conduct and menacing.

In March, an Ontario High School sophomore was overheard making threats and a note found in the teen’s backpack included a threat to blow up the school. The 15-year-old was charged with disorderly conduct.

Shortly after that incident, Ontario Principal Jodi Elizondo discussed how the school’s preparation and training paid off, ensuring a swift response whenever staff learn of threats.