Two Kenai Peninsula Borough schools received threatening phone calls the afternoon of Wednesday, May 13th, which were later determined not to be credible. That’s according to a release from the district.
The school district sent out the release at about 3:30 p.m. It stated that both Skyview Middle School and K-Beach Elementary School received automated telephone calls with threatening messages just after 1 p.m.
According to the district, the schools went into “stay-put” mode under advisement from Alaska State Troopers while the nature of the threats was determined.
That means all exterior doors are locked, students were brought into the buildings, and classes continue as usual. The “stay-put” mode lasted less than an hour.
Troopers responded to Skyview while Soldotna Police went to K-Beach.
The district says it sent an automated message to parents and guardians just after 2 p.m. with information about the threats and the schools’ response. The messages went out to families in Kenai, Soldotna, Sterling, and Nikiski.
The district says law enforcement later determined the two calls were not credible threats.
This comes on the heels of similar threats two weeks ago to central peninsula schools. That time, the district waited until school was out the day of the threat to contact parents. They did so via their Facebook page and did not release much information about either the threat or the school’s response. Parents took to social media to criticize what they considered a slow, incomplete, and confusing public notice from the district.
In an interview last week with KBBI, school district spokesperson Pegge Erkeneff said she was out of town during that incident and coordinated the public information response remotely. She said then that in retrospect, she wouldn’t have used Facebook, but would have gotten in touch with families directly.
“I would have conveyed it directly from the district office and used our voice-activated system to let parents know that this was happening,” said Erkeneff.
Unfortunately, the district got that opportunity. They did use the voice system and got the message out much faster than before.
The district notes that there may be an increased law enforcement presence at schools for a while and parents are asked to contact school principals with any questions.