School safety task force delivers recommendations - KPTV - FOX 12

School safety task force delivers recommendations

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SALEM, OR (KPTV) -

In August of 2014, the Oregon legislature established a special task force to address school violence, and within just four months there were ten school shootings across the country.

Wednesday, the task force's recommendations were finally revealed, and if there was a common theme in this report, it was "prevention."

The unfortunately familiar scenes of deadly shootings on school campuses, such as the Reynolds High School shooting in Troutdale last year and the mass shooting in Roseburg at Umpqua Community College last month were top of mind as the recommendations were shared.

Jennifer Hoffman, the mother of Reynolds victim Emilio Hoffman, attended the event Wednesday, reiterating her efforts to improve safety.

"My heart will never be healed.  The only way I can get through every day is to continue to work to make a change,” she said

The task force’s recommendations include developing a statewide database of every school's floor plan, standardizing the terminology used in responding to and assessing threats, and creating a threat assessment system and establishing a statewide tip line.

Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts, who chaired the task force, noted that early reporting is key.

"What we've learned from research is that with many of acts across the country, what happens is people know about the crime ahead of time, and don't report it."

In fact, the task force found that in 81 percent of recent school shootings, someone knew about the threat, and in 93 percent of those cases, that person was a peer.

The statewide tip line would allow students, friends and family members to report threats. Those reports would first be assessed by the school, and then by a team of community members made up of educators, mental health professionals and police.

Hoffman, meanwhile remains determined that her son's death won't be in vain.

"That is my hope.  That is my hope.  I don't anyone to ever have to feel what we have felt as a family, after losing Emilio," she said.

The task force is now trying to determine how much it will cost to implement their recommendations. Once that cost is determined, they plan to seek funding.

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