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Racial incidents reported at a Bend middle school


The Source is currently working this story for publication in the Nov. 17 print edition. Stay tuned for the latest.

Students at High Desert Middle School in Bend are reporting a number of racial incidents, seemingly prompted by the outcome of the recent presidential election.

While the administration at Bend-La Pine Schools has not confirmed or denied the facts of the cases, our sources report at least two incidents that took place on or after Nov. 9.

In one incident, reports are several middle schoolers held another student's hands back, threw sticks at the boy and tossed water on him.

In another incident, students reportedly told Latino students to "go back to Mexico" and made other racially-charged slurs.

High Desert was on lockdown the day after the stick incident and students kept from outdoor recess due to safety concerns. Teachers had discussions in each classroom about civility and tolerance, said a Bend-La Pine district spokesperson. Meanwhile, several students were reportedly suspended and/or expelled as a result of the incidents, though the district has not confirmed that.

The district did issue a statement, which included the following:

"Students who are found to be in violation of district policies and our code of conduct will be subject to discipline, up to and including expulsion," said Julianne Repman, Director of Communication and Safety at Bend-La Pine Schools and Regional Director of School Safety for the High Desert Education Service District. "We are focused on providing a welcoming environment where every student feels safe at school."

As a middle school serving students in the dual immersion language program, High Desert Middle School is home to a growing Spanish-speaking population.

*Editors note: The Source has continued to update this story as more details have been made available. Details in the 11/12 version of this story, regarding reports of urinating and handcuffing another student, have been found to be exaggerated.

This is a developing story. If you have information related to the incidents, please contact editor@bendsource.com

About The Author

Nicole Vulcan

Nicole Vulcan has been editor of the Source since 2016. While the pandemic reduced "hobbies" to "aspirations," you can mostly find her raising chickens, walking dogs, riding all the bikes and attempting to turn a high desert scrap of land into a permaculture oasis. (Progress: slow.)

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