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Reflections on the False Shooting Report at Roseburg High School

6:36 PM · Mar 3, 2023

Last week, there was a report made of a shooting at Roseburg High School. It was a relief for us all to eventually find out it was a false report, but it was a very traumatic event for everyone involved. After talking with administrators, teachers, and students following the incident, I want to shed more light on what happened and the impact the incident had on many of those involved. On Tuesday, February 21st at 9:19 am, a Roseburg Police patrol officer rushed into Roseburg High School after our 911 dispatch had received a report of students that had been shot. The school was immediately placed on lockdown which is the highest level of threat, meaning the threat was believed to be on the premises. This information spread very quickly across campus. Two Oregon State Police officers arrived next followed by Roseburg Police Chief Gary Klopfenstein, all within just a few minutes of the initial call. By the time Chief Klopfenstein arrived at the RHS front entrance, the school hallways were empty and absolutely silent. Inside classrooms, students scrambled to find a safe place to hide. In one classroom, most students were physically trembling and several were crying. Kids were texting their parents that they loved them and were sharing what little they knew about what was going on. As the minutes dragged on, many students were contemplating what would happen if that day was their last. Some students organized and stacked desks and tables up in front of doors. Others were plotting how they were going to work together to attack the shooter if they came to their classroom. For teachers and administrators, the incident was just as real and difficult. There was a genuine fear for the safety of all the students entrusted to their care. They were totally focused on keeping the kids safe. This impacted other local schools as well, as they all immediately implemented safety protocols. Imagine what it was like for teachers trying to keep a classroom full of elementary school kids out of sight and quiet for over a half hour! Chief Klopfenstein explained what law enforcement did immediately after arriving at RHS. “I immediately ensured we had Law Enforcement Officers secure and control the campus. When this was accomplished, it quickly became apparent the threat was likely not real. But we always treat these like they are real until we are 100% certain they are not. Law Enforcement Officers (accompanied with a School Administrator) went to every classroom and made personal contact to make sure there was not a threat inside, and to reassure teachers and students that everything appeared to be safe and secure. Everyone, Law Enforcement, School employees and, School District Administration, worked seamlessly together during this incident.” As word of the incident spread through the community, some parents started showing up outside the fences surrounding the campus. Roseburg Fire Department Leadership helped assure and talk with parents at the entrance to RHS. Chief Klopfenstein also wanted to thank parents for their patience and to reassure the community that our local officers receive continual training on what to do in the event of a school shooting. “I want to thank parents who anxiously waited at the edge of school grounds, for trusting us, and letting us do our part to keep students and faculty safe. I am aware it was extremely difficult to be patient, but if a parent were able to somehow get on campus during an incident like this, they would likely be perceived as the threat, which could end up with an unintended tragedy. Roseburg Police receive continual training on what to do in the event of a school shooting – we will always immediately respond to wherever the threat is and engage it – this is what all Oregon Officers practice.” At 9:49 am, or thirty minutes after the incident started, it was confirmed there was no threat at Roseburg High School. All the rooms were cleared by law enforcement by 10:15 am and parents started picking up their kids at 10:25 am. Over 900 students went home early that day at the high school. I want to give a big shoutout to our local law enforcement community. Another false shooting call had come in for South Umpqua High prior to the Roseburg High call, so lots of Douglas County Sheriff's Deputies were tied up there. Even so, over 20 Law Enforcement Officers were almost immediately on scene at Roseburg High including several OSP Troopers, BLM Officers, DINT Detectives, Sheriff Hanlin, and multiple Roseburg Officers. Also, Roseburg Fire Department and Medics staged in the area, ready to respond if needed. Also, a big thank you to all our local school district administrators, teachers, and staff for all the care and compassion you have shown to all the students. Moving forward, give extra grace and love to your kids and make sure you give them opportunities to share what they were thinking during the incident. Check in with your kid's teachers and administrators and let them know how much you appreciate them and show them extra love.