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2012: After Sandy Hook shooting, school safety was on everyone's mind


1983

Estacada resident Diana McFarland, 35, returned home after a mysterious absence for several days.

On Dec. 17, 1983, McFarland disappeared after taking a walk. A long one, apparently.

McFarland was picked up by police in Portland the next day and taken to Dammasch State Hospital in Wilsonville.

She remained hospitalized until Dec. 20.

On Dec. 21, Diana called the Sheriff's Office to say she was alive and well.

During her absence, McFarland's husband Harold, mobilized a Portland television station, the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office and the Estacada Fire Department to search the hill separating the McFarlands' Darrow Road home from downtown Estacada.

Harold combed the hillside for three days with his dog, his son and a friend. The rest of the couple's children stayed home from school.

Diana had apparently been taken to the hospital by a Multnomah County peace officer for an emergency hold.

Rather than seek a court order for involuntary treatment, the court investigator decided to release her after two days, as her condition had improved.

1993

The paper reflected back on the year, listing some of the most “quotable quotes” from Clackamas County News Articles of 1993. Here is a sampling:

“There is a critical gap between 'insider' and 'outsider' children in our system. Our challenge is to bring the outsiders in — those who don't fit the mold, who have darker skin, who come from homes where the next meal is in question, who do not understand English that well, the abused, the isolated, the unwanted.”

— Superintendent of Schools Scott Clark in his “State of the Schools” address.

“Believe me, I do have hatred for people and their lifestyles. I should have love for these people? I think not.”

— Chief OCA (Oregon Citizens Alliance) petitioner Mel Schaeffer to the Estacada City Council, re: homosexuals

“We just won't buy anything for a year. If something breaks down, we'll have to go without it.”

— Superintendent Clark, explaining his budget cuts for the Estacada School District

“Society is not just individuals; it is a communal dynamic. It's bound together by ties that bind us in faith, by blood and by experience. I think that we perhaps need to see if we have not gone too far in exulting the individual and have not lost touch with some of the very real societal concerns.”

— Father Michael Maslowsky

“Most people don't realize how many hours teachers put in for which they aren't paid.”

— Tymmera Whitnah, River Mill Elementary teacher

2003

Construction started on a new building on Broadway Street in downtown Estacada. The building was going up on what had formerly been an empty lot between Dean Holden Enterprises and the building that housed Duane's Barber Shop.

2012

In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., that left 26 people dead, including 20 young children, school safety was on everyone's mind.

Estacada School District officials discussed campus safety procedures during an administrative meeting.

Rumors were apparently swirling throughout Clackamas County that an act of violence would occur Dec. 20.

School administrators sent out a letter to parents, staff, school board and community members addressing the rumors. The letter was signed by Estacada Superintendent Howard Fetz.

“We want to inform you of a disturbing rumor that has circulated among students at high schools throughout Clackamas County claiming that an act of violence will occur tomorrow,” Fetz wrote in the letter. “Since last Friday's shooting at Sandy Hook School, there have been predictable rumors of violence in schools across Oregon and the nation.”

The letter assured parents that the source of the rumors was being investigated and emphasized that the rumors had not been verified.

“However, the sheriff's office will have extra deputies patrolling our schools, and school administration and staff will remain vigilant in monitoring school entrances. We are not intending to alarm you with this notification, but rather to keep you informed and vigilant. We share your concern for your child's safety, and, as always, respect your right as a parent not to send your child to school any time you believe it might be unsafe,” the letter continued.




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