Elementary school students located after leaving campus

School officials at Tustumena Elementary called state troopers after two students were reported missing from their classroom.

District spokesperson Pegge Erkeneff called the incident a “serious student discipline situation,” and said no one was in any danger.

The school district did not issue an alert or media release during the three hours the two were missing, though Erkeneff made a Facebook post later in the evening on the district’s Facebook page announcing that the two had been located.

In response to a comment from a parent, Erkeneff wrote that no alert was issued as KPBSD was following the lead from law enforcement.

“This post was simply proactive in case rumors spread; we wanted everyone to know the students were safe.”

The two students did not return to their classroom and would be disciplined according to Kenai Peninsula Board of Education policy governing truancy, Erkeneff said.

Those discipline regulations include parental/guardian notification, in-house suspensions, community service, suspension or referral to the juvenile justice system for chronic cases, according to board policy.

When the two were reported missing, Tustumena staff did a sweep of the building and paged them to the front office before calling troopers.

Tustumena Elementary school principal Doug Hayman did not want to comment on how the school handled the incident. He sent an email through Erkeneff.

“Because this involved law enforcement and minors, please call our district office for details. Thank you,” he wrote.

“It was immediately determined it wasn’t an abduction,” Erkeneff said.

Staff determined this by watching surveillance video and finding footprints in the snow, she said.

“They were just wandering around being kids,” she said.

 

Reach Rashah McChesney at rashah.mcchesney@peninsulaclarion.com.

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