A 15-year-old student was arrested at his home in Kenai after police said he sent a threatening text message that included the threat of a gun, to students at Kenai Central High School.
The school was on lockdown for less than an hour Tuesday, as were Kenai Middle School, Kenai Alternative School and Aurora Borealis charter school
Nobody was injured, and the police “removed the threat,” said Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Assistant Superintendent Dave Jones.
According to a press release from the Kenai Police Department, “Investigation revealed that a student at KCHS received texts from another male student of KCHS, telling him to leave the school, warning of an imminent threat, and including a depiction of a gun.”
Staff at the school became aware of the threat and alerted Alex Prins, the Kenai Police Department resource officer, who was present at the time, according to the release. Officers from the Kenai Police Department then responded to the threat.
The lockdown started around 12:21 p.m. and lasted until approximately 1 p.m. Police arrested the suspect at about 12:40 p.m.
“No firearms were located at the residence and a guardian confirmed there were no firearms at the residence,” according to the release. The name of the suspect is being withheld as he is a juvenile.
The suspect was taken to Kenai Peninsula Youth Facility for terroristic threatening in the second degree. It is a class C felony which typically carries a maximum of 5-years in prison and up to $50,000 in fines.
Jones said that the lockdown was successful.
“I think everyone did their job,” he said. “The police did their job. The teachers did their job. The students did their job.”
KCHS Principal Alan Fields said that school resumed normal activity. After school-activities were held at the normally scheduled times. He said that parents had been notified of the event through an automated calling system.
Fields said that the new lockdown protocol, which the school district has implemented this year, worked well. He said that in the past, lockdowns were initiated by a special code word announced over the intercom. However, some students and staff would forget what the code word meant, he said.
The new notification system alerts students and staff of a threat directly via intercom. During a lockdown, students are kept inside the classrooms with the doors locked and the blinds on the windows drawn.
“We try to keep kids out of sight,” Fields said, speaking to a Peninsula Clarion reporter.
Students remain on lockdown until the situation is under control. Fields said the school has lockdown drills a few times every year in order to prepare everyone for threats.
Other safety measures utilized by the school include having a resource officer on hand, which Kenai has had for nearly 10 years, Fields said.