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Troopers maintain 'presence' at West Valley after student threat

Alaska State Troopers maintained a presence at West Valley High School Thursday, in response to a threat made by a student the day before. Troopers are investigating the incident.

School district won't talk about 'threatening statement'

A number of Alaska State Troopers spent the day at West Valley High School Thursday in response to a student making a threatening statement the day before. But Fairbanks North Star Borough School District officials declined to confirm Thursday how many Troopers were at the high school. And they aren’t saying much else about the incident.

“At this time, we don’t have any more information about the incident that can be shared,” district spokesperson Joshua Duvall said in response to questions about the threat the student made Wednesday. Duvall said district officials have related all they’re going to say about the incident in a news release they issued Wednesday night and a letter that Principal Sarah Gillam sent out to parents earlier in the day.

Except, he added, “Other than just being grateful for our partnership with law enforcement. They’ve been really great at responding quickly and trying to help out staff and students, as far as making a safe place.”

Duvall wouldn’t confirm that four Troopers were at West Valley Thursday, as one parentsaid she’d heard. Nor would district officials respond to what kind of threat was made, and whether the threatening student was disciplined.

As for the latter, “When it comes to student information, it’s not appropriate or allowable to share information about students and student discipline,” he said.

Gillam wasn’t available to talk Thursday. Her letter to parents said West Valley administrators learned about the threat at the end of the school day Wednesday. It says they contacted Troopers, who immediately responded. And it says,“Alaska State Troopers have conducted a thorough investigation into the threats and have taken appropriate actions. At this time, there is no present threat to the school.”

It goes on to say that Troopers “will have a presence at the school throughout the day (Thursday).

She adds, “We appreciate students and staff reporting unusual or potentially unsafe situations.” Gillam wrote that she’s, quote, “proud of the work our students are doing and have done in regard to openly communicating with us when there are concerns.”

Tim Ellis has been working as a KUAC reporter/producer since 2010. He has more than 30 years experience in broadcast, print and online journalism.