Quick reporting and a fast response nipped a potential school violence incident in the bud Tuesday, after police arrested an 11-year-old Ninilchik School student on a charge of second-degree terroristic threatening. The student threatened to bring a gun to school and kill a 16-year-old student.
The 11-year-old was arrested as he was walking to school Tuesday morning after the school’s principal, Terry Martin, reported the threat to Alaska State Troopers. Troopers found no weapons on the male, who had threatened to stab and shoot the 16-year-old.
The threat was made on Monday, and Martin learned of it after the 16-year-old told his coach and parents he had been threatened, and they in turn told Martin.
“This type of thing happens sporadically; you might get five in one week and not get one in 10 weeks,” said Glen Szymoniak, assistant superintendent for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District.
Szymoniak said while the likelihood of a threat being carried out can vary, the school district takes all threats seriously.
“By no means do I want to downplay even one event; all it takes is one event that’s really serious and gets carried out,” he said.
He said what is important to note in this case, is that people responded quickly to report the threat.
In many of the high-profile school violence incidents, students or faculty knew a threat had been made but did not report it, he said.
“And so the key part is that when people hear these things they need to be reported,” he said.
The 11-year-old was taken to the Kenai Peninsula Youth Facility on Tuesday without bail pending evaluation.
Patrice Kohl can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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