Two 13-year old students at Floyd Dryden Middle School were arrested Thursday morning for planning to take a gun to school and shoot people, authorities said.
“We got a call from a parent,” said Lt. Krag Campbell with the Juneau Police Department.
Another student overheard the two students discussing their intent to commit a school shooting and said something to their parents; the parents then informed the police department, who alerted the school, said Dr. Bridget Weiss, Superintendent of Juneau School District.
JPD officers located the implicated students and held them in custody early in the morning before school Thursday. Following an investigation, both were arrested and charged with felony terroristic threatening in the second degree, and transported them to the Johnson Youth Center, police said.
The school district coordinated with JPD for their on-the-ground response Thursday.
“JPD was at school before staff arrived,” Weiss told the Empire Thursday. “They were, as always, very responsive. We made sure we were prepared for the beginning of the school day.”
With the students in custody, school proceeded as usual Thursday morning. The school district sent emails to all parents in the school district to let them know what had happened and that there was no threat to their children, Weiss said. The school district will be calling parents of Floyd Dryden students this evening to explain what happened.
Weiss said that part of teaching students about this, and about the power words and ideas have, especially when they’re threatening other people.
“We really want students to know there are significant consequences now to making threats like this,” said Weiss. “Words and pictures matter. They do indicate threat.”
Just like in an airport, Weiss said, kids need to be aware that in the world we live in, there are threats and comments that should not be made in a school.
“Kids just making comments can be taken very seriously,” Campbell said.
Weiss lauded the student telling their parents what they heard as an example of the ‘if you see something, say something’ mode of thinking they try to teach all students to help protect themselves and their classmates.
“It’s a pretty cool thing when kids do the right thing, and in this case, kids did the right thing,” Weiss said.
Weiss said the school district will continue to reinforce the lesson of vigilance for both students and teachers, and encourage teachers to develop their relationship with students so students will feel comfortable telling them if they hear or see something that worries them.
“We support the students’ development in all sorts of ways,” Weiss said. “We want students to be connected to school. We want them to be supported by school.”
• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 523-2271 or firstname.lastname@example.org.