Student faces expulsion over fires


Last updated 6/6/2023 at 7:01pm

A Sisters High School freshman was arrested on Wednesday, May 31, in connection with two fires in girls bathrooms that led to the evacuation of the school. Authorities withheld the name of the juvenile female.

According to the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, a student at Sisters High School alerted staff to a fire in the girls restroom at 10:20 a.m. School staff responded to the girls restroom, and used a fire extinguisher to quench the blaze, which was located in the trash receptacle.

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office School Resource Deputy assigned to Sisters High School also responded. Shortly thereafter, a second fire was reported in a separate girls restroom. The second fire was active and fuel source — a paper product and a plastic toilet paper dispenser — created a lot of black smoke.

The school was evacuated, and students were ultimately sent home for the day. There were no injuries reported as a result of the incident, DCSO reported.

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office School Resource Deputy was provided surveillance footage, and was able to identify a suspect. The suspect, a freshman student, was located at the school property and arrested without incident on two counts of first-degree arson; one count of first-degree criminal mischief; and one count of disorderly conduct.

The suspect was transported to the Deschutes County Juvenile Detention Center and lodged. She faces likely expulsion for her actions, according to Sisters Schools Superintendent Curt Scholl.

“Fire-starting and weapons are pretty automatic, unless there’s extenuating circumstances,” he told The Nugget.

Expulsion involves a legal process.

The incident was troubling, Scholl acknowledged, but he was pleased at the response.

“I’m disappointed in that behavior,” he said, “but the emergency responders were there very quickly, and the staff did a great job managing the kids in that situation. It gives me confidence in why we do all those drills.”

Scholl said that the smoke was cleared out of the building by Wednesday afternoon. One of the bathrooms will require painting and perhaps other restoration work, which the District was still assessing last week. Classes resumed on Thursday.

The Facebook rumor mill churned heavily in the wake of the incident. Superintendent Scholl told The Nugget that there is absolutely no truth to rumors that the student had previously brought a gun to school.

Author Bio

Jim Cornelius, Editor in Chief

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Jim Cornelius is editor in chief of The Nugget and author of “Warriors of the Wildlands: True Tales of the Frontier Partisans.” A history buff, he explores frontier history across three centuries and several continents on his podcast, The Frontier Partisans. For more information visit


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