Death threat found in Heritage High bathroom

By Susan Parrish, Columbian education reporter

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A death threat written on the back of a bathroom stall door at Heritage High School was discovered by a staff member on Nov. 4, Gail Spolar, spokeswoman for Evergreen Public Schools, said. The threat identified two female students by name and said, “You are going to die today.”

In a message posted on a Facebook page, Jennifer Ritthaler, mother of one of the girls, said her daughter wanted to call her mother, but the school security guard told her to wait until the school’s video surveillance of the bathroom door could be reviewed.

Ritthaler said she had removed her daughter from the school and placed her in another school in a different district. Ritthaler did not respond to The Columbian’s request for an interview Tuesday.

Ritthaler contacted Portland media outlets. The story has been the topic of talk radio in Portland recently.

The school district says it followed procedure.

“They immediately pulled together the security team, called in the students who they believed were involved in the incident,” Spolar said. “We take bullying very seriously. We put student safety at the top.”

Of the two girls named in the threat, Spolar said one girl is still attending school.

“There is another girl involved in the episode,” Spolar said. “She is not at school.”

Duncan Hoss, spokesman for Clark County Sheriff’s Office, said that because the students are juveniles, they will not be identified.

Hoss said the sheriff’s officer stationed at the school assisted in the investigation.

“There’s no doubt there was a death threat,” Hoss said. “There’s no evidence we can determine who made the death threat. There’s no physical evidence at the scene as to who made the threat. All the active leads have been followed at this point.”