Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966


Incident may change school security policy


Haines School officials are reviewing procedures following an April 17 incident in which some elementary teachers mistakenly believed the school was on a “lockdown.”

Assistant principal Michelle Byer said she notified staff at the high school before classes to watch out for a former student who was reportedly “acting unstable.” Byer declined to say why the former student’s behavior was a concern at the school. She said she asked high school staff to notify her if they saw the former student on the school grounds.

According to borough police, school officials contacted the department around 8:30 a.m. and asked officers to check on the former student. An officer and a counselor from Lynn Canal Counseling interviewed the individual and determined the person was not a threat either to themselves or to others.

“I was never nervous about things. We were being cautious about instability in the community,” Byer said. “There was no threat to students or staff. Mainly, we were concerned for the former student.”

Byer said administrators sought to notify teachers in the elementary wing about the situation after classes started, but some apparently didn’t get the information.

A change that might be made would be notifying all staff via email during situations similar to the one April 17, she said. Byer said incidents like the one last week have occurred twice in the past seven years.

The school has “stay put” and “lockdown” procedures in the event of a threat to the school, students or personnel. The incident didn’t rise to that level, Byer said.