A possible attack was thwarted by law enforcement at an Anchorage School yesterday (Thursday). Officials are being tight-lipped about details, but confirm that a tip from out of state alerted them that an East High School student was involved in an online plot to attack a school.
The alleged threat launched a joint investigation between the Anchorage Police Department and the Anchorage School District yesterday. Anchorage Police chief Mark Mew says the case is still under investigation and involves a minor, so he can’t discuss details. But he says the concern originated online.
“There was a group of students here in Alaska and elsewhere in the country that were exchanging information via their computers and somebody out of state received what appeared to be a very threatening set of plans to attack a school. And that was tracked back here to Alaska. We’ve made an arrest. He’s a juvenile, so we’re not going to identify him right now.”
The student, a 15 year old male, was playing on-line video games, officials say, with two other people from out of state. At some point, the Anchorage teen made a general statement about possible plans for a school shooting. One of the on-line youth told his parents who, in turn, called the school principal and relayed their concerns. School Resource Officers launched an investigation which resulted in the arrest of the student.
“One of the things we do want to point out is that we got on this thing so quickly because a student and some parents took this thing really seriously and got in touch with authorities here in Anchorage right away. And so I don’t think we can say definitively whether yet whether this is a prank or whether this was … something was actually in the works. We’re trying to sort through that right now.”
Anchorage School officials are sending a phone message to parents informing of the threat and insuring them of school safety. This is part of the message that parents will be getting From Michael Graham, the Principal of East High School.
“Yesterday, we received information regarding a safety threat at our school. An East High student had told another student about potential plans for a shooting at our school. Although no specific threat was made, the student who heard the information told a trusted adult. When the school received the message we took the information very seriously and immediately involved our school resource officers. The Anchorage police department took immediate action and worked quickly to divert a potentially dangerous situation.”
The message also says the student involved in the safety threat is currently on emergency suspension pending expulsion by the School Board. School District officials says the district is reviewing their emergency action plans in the wake of the Connecticut school shooting. The juvenile arrested is being held at McLaughlin Youth Center and faces charges of ‘Terroristic Threatening.
Here is the message sent to parents by East High School:
Hello, this is Michael Graham, the principal of East High School, calling with an important message.
Yesterday, we received information regarding a safety threat at our school.
An East High student had told another student about potential plans for a shooting at our school. Although no specific threat was made, the student who heard the information told a trusted adult.
When the school received the message, we took the information very seriously and immediately involved our school resource officers. The Anchorage Police Department took immediate action and worked quickly to divert a potentially dangerous situation.
Safety of our students and staff remains a top priority here at East High School.
The student involved in the safety threat is currently on emergency suspension pending expulsion by the school board.
The student who notified an adult is to be commended for doing the right thing and telling someone about the concerns.
The East High staff and I appreciate your support in keeping our school a safe environment for everyone.
Thank you and may everyone enjoy a safe and enjoyable holiday season.
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