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Nome Elementary Goes on Brief Lockdown After Facebook Post Shows School in Crosshairs of Rifle

Exterior of Nome Elementary School, an off-white building with a smiling polar bear as its mascot.
Exterior of Nome Elementary School, August 22, 2018. Photo: David Dodman, KNOM.

Nome Elementary School was put on lockdown Wednesday morning after a Nome resident posted to Facebook an image of the front entrance of the school as seen through the scope of a rifle.

The Nome Police Department responded to the incident at around 9:35 am. A concerned citizen alerted NPD, who sent a Community Service Officer to the school. The perimeter was secured while the officer conducted a “walk through” of the school and determined that there was no threat.

Nome Elementary School principal, Elizabeth Korenek Johnson, sent an e-mail through Nome Announce on Wednesday that said that “students were not alerted. The speed with which the situation was addressed allowed for a normal school day as far as our students were concerned.”

According to Nome Chief of Police John Papasadora, NPD contacted the creator of the Facebook post that caused the concern and determined there to be no violent intent. The image of Nome Elementary seen through the scope was not intended as a target of violence. Rather, an “Exit” sign adjacent to the school entrance was framed in the picture as an example of a flaw in the scope of the rifle itself. The presence of Nome Elementary in the background was an unfortunate coincidence.

Security at Nome Elementary returned to normal after the area was determined to be safe.

Screengrab of Facebook post showing the entrance of Nome Elementary School through the crosshairs of a rifle scope.
The Facebook post that prompted the Nome Elementary School lockdown on Wednesday morning, August 22, 2018. The post was later deleted.

David Dodman contributed to this story.

Image at top: Nome Elementary School, August 22, 2018. Photo: David Dodman, KNOM.

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