A threat of gun violence at John Apangalook School in Gambell was made last Thursday, resulting in a student being sent home. The incident resulted in a lock-out protocol for students, teachers, staff and visitors.
According to Bering Strait School District Chief Administrator Susan Nedza, an unnamed student threatened to bring a gun to get out of school last week.
“A student made a comment that they were going to bring a weapon to school to cause a lockdown,” Nedza said. “So, they were not saying that they intended actual violence, but they were saying they were going to bring a weapon to school and that they wanted to cause a lockdown.”
The doors were locked on Thursday and remained locked on Friday. Students were sent home on Friday at 1 p.m. According to Nedza, a staff member stood by the door to allow people in throughout the day. Open gym was also cancelled due to the lockout.
“The lockout procedure is to keep teachers and students operating normally in the school, but it creates a barrier to anyone coming into the school that shouldn’t,” Nedza said.
Nedza added that the lock-out protocol is new this school year. She added the decision to monitor who comes into the school building during a possible threat is the best way forward – and pays attention to every threat, no matter how minor or off-handed.
“We’re putting in more of a systematic protocol that says anytime a student makes a threat of any sort, whether we might believe it’s not real or not that bad, or any of the qualifiers that we sometimes think, we’re going to follow the protocol,” Nedza said.
Nedza added that local law enforcement were on campus investigating the incident.
No one was injured and the incident remains under investigation. The identity of the student that made the threat has not been released.
Image at top: John Apangalook Memorial High School and Hugo T. Apatiki Elementary School in Gambell. Photo: Lauren Frost/KNOM