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Education

Police arrest Begich Middle School student in latest bathroom-wall threat

  • Author: Zaz Hollander
  • Updated: November 20
  • Published November 19

A student who wrote a shooting threat on a bathroom wall was arrested Monday at Begich Middle School, according to the Anchorage School District.

A school resource officer found a message on a girls' bathroom wall that said “there would be a shooting during 2nd period classes and everyone should leave now,” according to an Anchorage Police Department update Monday afternoon. Staff investigated and found the responsible student.

The student is female, police say.

The student was questioned by the officer, taken into custody and remanded to McLaughlin Youth Center with charges forwarded to the state Department of Juvenile Justice, police said. She faces charges of terroristic threats and criminal mischief, according to a school district statement.

The message was the latest in a series of school threats in Anchorage in the past week and a half. It’s not immediately clear whether the arrest at Begich was connected to other threats, which largely involved graffiti on bathroom walls at several different high schools.

Begich Middle School, photographed Jan. 27, 2016. (Loren Holmes / ADN)

“The written threat was not something the student intended to carry out, but rather a prank,” the school district said in a message to families Monday. “Despite the intent, the actions constituted a crime and APD and ASD take these actions extremely seriously because of the disruption they cause to our schools and communities.”

Another threat on Monday involved a circulating Snapchat post “threatening the safety of an unspecified school,” according to a message Monday morning from the district.

That proved to be unsubstantiated, police said: The post originated in the Lower 48 and was shared multiple times between Anchorage students but had nothing to do with the Anchorage School District, police said.

Police continue to investigate the other threats at Dimond, Service and Bartlett high schools.

“When there is a posed or perceived threat that involves our children, anxieties are understandably heightened,” APD spokesman MJ Thim wrote in an email Monday. “We cannot stress enough how seriously the department takes threats of any kind. Safety is our number one priority. We want to assure the community that we continue to thoroughly investigate each incident in cooperation with the Anchorage School District and will ensure that those responsible are held accountable."

In a message Monday evening, the Anchorage School District urged families and staff to continue conversation with students about safe practices on social media.

“These and other similar threats are a crime,” the district said in the message. “Please continue to talk with your children about safety in using social media and sharing any information they may see or know with a trusted teacher or school administrator.”

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