Yesterday afternoon, Portland Police officers took a teenage boy into custody near SE 92nd Avenue and SE Stark Street after receiving reports of an armed former student threatening violence at Creative Science School. Just before 4:00 p.m., May 15th, East Precinct officers were dispatched to the 1231 SE 92nd Avenue school. Nearby, they found the 13-year-old suspect wearing a tactical vest, helmet, and goggles. The juvenile also possessed a convincing replica handgun. The responding offices took the child into custody, transporting the suspect to the Donald E. Long Juvenile Detention Center and detaining them on charges of Menacing with a Firearm and Disorderly Conduct.
A KATU report of the incident said Portland Public School (PPS) previously banned the former student from the middle school. On Monday, staff escorted him off the property prior to the reports of a gun. After hearing about a possible weapon, School administrators followed established protocol during the event, putting the school into lockdown and contacting 911.
A gun threat near a school is an alarming event. Fortunately, students and PPS staff were not in physical danger during this situation. The threatening behavior of this individual exposes an unaddressed issue within the local education system. This recent situation is an example of a former student using the threat of violence to express their feelings towards a school and community. In a country with the highest number of deadly school shootings, this event is a rare opportunity to evaluate our social systems without first having to lose a life.
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Starting in Fall 2023, many Montavilla schools will shift enrollment criteria as part of the SE Enrollment & Program Balancing intuitive. The approved plan adjusts school attendance boundaries, relocates language immersion programs, and redefines grade levels served at each location. Although potentially disruptive, these changes intend to create predictable enrollment within these schools and better serve a changing community demographic. Vestal is the only neighborhood School unaffected by these changes.
On May 24th, the Portland Public Schools (PPS) Board of Education voted unanimously to adopt the Deputy Superintendent’s recommendations. That proposal resulted from a multi-year planning process by the Southeast Guiding Coalition and community members. Harrison Park will convert to a middle school at the beginning of the 2023-24 school year, and its Kindergarten through 5th Grade students will move into the Clark campus on SE 92nd Avenue, which currently houses Creative Science School. The Harrison Park Chinese Immersion program will also relocate to Clark for younger students. Children will feed into Harrison Park Middle School from Vestal and Atkinson attendance areas.
PPS will relocate the Creative Science School from the Clark campus to Bridger at 7910 SE Market Street. Those students will join the neighborhood program at the school, creating an additional curriculum strand and helping stabilize enrollment. The Spanish Immersion program currently at Bridger will relocate to Lent Elementary School at 5105 SE 97th Avenue. Bridger staff created a Powerpoint presentation outlining the expected adjustments to the school and providing greater context to why these changes were necessary.
PPS staff will send parents information about the rebalancing in early June. Over the next year, a detailed migration plan will provide a roadmap to the new school boundaries and school options. PPS will work to accommodate families during the transition. In some cases, allowing families already enrolled to choose when to transition to a new school. Parents and guardians should receive information about options and what these changes mean for their students within the coming months.
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