Threats made to teacher results in week-long closure of school

Posted: Thursday, April 13, 2000

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Threats made to a teacher at the Cruikshank School in Beaver resulted in the school closing for a week.

The school's 24 students in kindergarten through high school went to school on Friday, March 31, and were sent home, said Local Schools Advisory Committee member Ron Yatlin. The superintendent then notified the village that the school was closed upon further notice.

Trooper Sgt. Ron Wall said the school twice in the last six weeks has been the subject of trooper reports. Normally the community is peaceful, he said.

On Feb. 23, troopers received a report of inappropriate contact between two students at the school, Wall said. A potential charge of second-degree sexual assault against the male student was forwarded to juvenile authorities as a result of that report.

Just five days later, troopers received another report, this one alleging that school staff were being threatened.

''Basically the complaint was that some of the staff at the school had received threats from children at the school,'' Wall said. The case is still being investigated.

School closures because of violence or threats of violence are rare in Alaska, said Harry Gamble, spokesman for the state Department of Education and Early Development. Aside from the 1997 shootings in Bethel and an incident earlier this year in Hydaburg, Gamble couldn't remember any other violence-related closures in recent years.

Yatlin said LSAC should have been immediately informed of any threats.

''I feel if we were notified that something was taking place we would have responded and it would not have gotten to the point it did,'' Yatlin said. ''If we would have been notified, we would have been able to disarm the situation.''

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