UPDATED: Four threats found at Dimond High this week, prompting increased police presence Friday

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Updated 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9:
The Anchorage School District has clarified the number of times threatening graffiti was discovered at Dimond High School this week.

District spokesperson Catherine Esary forwarded to Channel 2 all the messages Dimond Principal Tina Johnson-Harris had sent to parents this week about the messages.

The first message, sent Monday, details a message saying "I'm shooting up the school, I'm not joking. I have a gun in my lock." That message was discovered on Monday, and Dimond High and APD found it not to be a credible threat.

Thursday, a note to parents said that similar messages were discovered in other bathrooms on Tuesday and Thursday.

Friday morning, another message was discovered, which prompted the increased response from Anchorage Police, and holding students in their first-hour class longer than usual.

Original Story:
A major Anchorage high school was set on their toes Friday morning, after a week-long series of threats were uncovered within school bathrooms. Now, additional law enforcement is involved, and investigating the threat.

"Scrolled on a bathroom towel dispenser at Dimond High School were the words, 'I'm shooting up the school, I'm not joking. I have a gun in my lock,'" said Dimond High School principal, Tina Johnson-Harris, in an email sent home to parents of Dimond High School students.

According to Johnson-Harris, as well as ASD, those threats have so far been found to be "not credible," and the district is taking the matter seriously, and additional police arrived at the school.

According to MJ Thim, spokesperson for the Anchorage Police Department, "Officers are down there, and we are still investigating whether the threats are credible or not. That's still under investigation right now," Thim said.

Catherine Esary, with ASD, told KTUU Friday morning that, with additional police at Dimond High today to continue the investigation into the notes, Principal Johnson-Harris wants students and staff alike to be mindful.

"The school is not in stay-put mode officially, but the principal has asked students and staff to be mindful, to not have a ton of students walking around if they don't have to," said Esary. "If they don't have to go to their lockers, don't go."

The hope for the district is that a student that knows something will come forward, and that whoever is responsible for the bathroom messages will be found.

"Students need to know that this is serious, and that there are serious consequences for it," Esary said.

For students and parents, this additional protocol was alarming. One Dimond High parent KTUU spoke with this morning said she was driving to get her daughter, who was being held in first period and not permitted to leave without a parent at the building.

According to Principal Johnson-Harris, while school is still in session Friday, today's additional graffiti message meant they changed how students were being instructed. Limited hall passes were being given, and students were told to go to their next classes when possible.

"In trying to check things this morning, we kept students in the first-hour class for an extended time," Johnson-Harris wrote in an email. "This has caused our students, staff, and you as parents, added worry and it is another disruption in our school day."

Another parent, Scott Slone, told KTUU that his son wasn't allowed to leave without him, but that early on he felt sending his son to school in the wake of repeated threats was a risk.

"I felt like sending him to school this morning was rolling the dice," Slone said. "I was up late last night thinking, do I send him to school or not, and I'm a pretty even-keeled person, I don't get shaken."

According to Slone, after dropping his son off Friday morning, he saw many parents hanging around the front of the school, and then saw some students leaving.

"I called my son, and he said, 'I was just going to call you. I don't feel safe,' " Slone said, before picking his son back up.

School remains in session Friday, according to district officials. The usual policy of students to be excused with parent permission is still in effect.

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story included a parent stating that students had been dismissed. That reference has been removed for clarity.



 
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