Fairbanks schools are among several in Alaska and the western Lower 48 that have received threatening phone calls. There’s been no actual violence, but the calls have prompted lock downs and law enforcement responses.
Fairbanks North Star Borough School District Superintendent Karen Gaborik says local schools have received a total of five calls, beginning on March 25th and 30th, and then again in the last two weeks, as recently as Tuesday. Gaborik describes caller as female sounding.
Gaborik says the threats have affected seven Fairbanks district schools, resulting in lockdowns or evacuations, as law enforcement responds to assess the situation at each school. Juneau, Anchorage and Kenai schools are among several others in Alaska that have received the threatening calls. City of Fairbanks Deputy Police Chief Eric Jewkes says the caller has not asked for anything or targeted specific people, instead focusing on general violence.
Deputy Chief Jewkes says Fairbanks police are working with Alaska State Troopers, and the FBI on the case in trying to find out who’s behind the threat, but it’s been challenging.
Fairbanks schools have stopped taking anonymous calls from blocked phone numbers. Jewkes emphasizes that law enforcement is taking the situation seriously and that although no actual threat to safety has been found, the calls are upsetting. Superintendent Gaborik says its all happening as schools push toward summer break.
Gaborik says the response to each threat has ranged from an hour to many hours depending on the school and where they are at in the day. She adds each situation involves a lot communication with school staff and parents, which takes additional time and resources.