High School Briefly Secured for ‘Perceived Safety Threat’

Canby High School was briefly secured by law enforcement Friday morning due to what officials called a “perceived safety threat” that turned out to be a misunderstanding.

“Thank you so much to our community for being diligent and aware of potential safety concerns today,” Principal Greg Dinse said in an email to students and family members Friday morning. “We want to let you know that Canby Police received a report of a perceived safety threat at Canby High School this morning.

“Police and administrative staff quickly responded and followed safety protocols, securing the building. After a thorough investigation, police determined the report was a misunderstanding and there was no threat. We appreciate the support of Canby Police Department and the community as we work to ensure student safety.”

Canby Police remained at the high school throughout the day, but no other incidents were reported. Police Chief Jorge Tro told the Current that officers were planning to maintain a higher presence at Canby High as well as Baker Prairie Middle School and other schools over a vague warning of nationwide school violence Friday that spread virally on the video-sharing app TikTok.

Tro said the police department had already been in discussions with school officials about how to handle the possible threat. While some districts in Oregon and across the country opted to cancel the last day before winter break, most schools in Canby and Clackamas County remained open — but on high alert.

The report that prompted the securing of Canby High was not the TikTok trend but a “perceived threat of violence that was specific to Canby,” Tro said.

“I think it was a situation where there was heightened awareness and someone reported something they thought was suspicious,” he explained. “But it turned out to be a misunderstanding. There was no threat.”

Though the incident was widely reported on social media as a “lockdown,” Tro said “secure” mode simply means locking all doors and entrances except for the main one while police investigated the possible threat. Classes remained in session and operated normally.

Attendance was down at Canby High Friday, though Tro was not sure by exactly how much, as some parents opted to keep their student home due to the TikTok threat. Classrooms were far emptier in other regional schools like Lake Oswego, which had been secured the previous day after a student reportedly received a message threatening violence.

The incident comes less than two weeks after two Instagram accounts were removed from the platform for posts targeting Canby High School students.

Tro said a Canby Police detective did identify the person responsible for one of the Instagram accounts. The suspect was a minor and could not be identified. CPD informed school officials and referred the case up to the juvenile department, Tro said.

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