Misinformation Frightens Parents, Students in Nikiski Lockdown

Conflicting stories frightened Nikiski students and parents yesterday afternoon as the middle/high school and elementary school went into lock down around 12:30pm. Troopers were looking for a suicidal male in the area, though they said he didn’t make a threat against the school and wasn’t wielding any type of weapon.


Nikiski parent Destinie Burleson said she was first contacted by her high school children…


Burleson: “I got a text from my daughter and she said: ‘We’re on lock down, this is not a drill. We don’t know what’s going on.’ But she was crying, she said: ‘I’m terrified.’ And then we got an email from my son, he’s a 7th grader, about a half an hour later, and he said: ‘We’re on lock down. I’m terrified. Kids are crying, we’re very upset.’ And then we got another text from my daughter, my husband called the school and they said there’s not a threat to the school, but there was a threat to the school. A situation. That’s what they told my husband.”


Nikiski Middle/High School was the first to be secured, after Troopers received a report around 12:25pm.


One local Trooper told us they had little information to go on, and had sent an officer to the school when it was believed the man had a connection to the building.


At 2:30pm the School District sent a media release explaining the schools were in lock down and students would be released to their buses or parents.


Burleson said they want the School District to provide more information up front…


Parent 1: “Nobody was talking to us.

Parent 2: “Nobody specified.

Parent 1: “Nobody specified [what was going on]. I’m like, Mr. Bostic, I know you’re… what’s going on?

Burleson: “There’s a flaw in the system. I think that if there was a lockdown, it was a frustration, because the only way we were able to even know that something was happening was because our daughter texted us.”


The School District responded thoughtfully to the feedback, saying they use these situations to improve their response in the future.


As of yesterday evening, Troopers were still searching for the man, who was described as a white adult male with dark hair.  He was last seen driving a 1998 dark red extended-cab Dodge Dakota with a dented driver’s side door. The licence plate ends in ‘396.’ Anyone with information is asked to contact Troopers by calling 911 or 262-4453.

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  1. Norm Olson 9 May, 2014, 10:06

    Let’s talk about lock downs.

    My four grandchildren came home today after the Nikiski schools locked down. Why there was a lock down isn’t important.
    I asked them if they were frightened during that time. As expected, fear is repressed and In spite of the games they played and the engaging conversations they had, they all said yes, they were afraid. Now I wondered why. Why are my grandchildren frightened during a school lock down?
    Fear is natural and has a good purpose. It makes us do the right things to protect ourselves.
    But why are my grandchildren frightened during a lock down? Was it from a lack of trust?
    I asked, “Didn’t the Troopers show up?” They did, but the kids talked about how the Troopers took away their fathers and mothers and friends they knew. The presence of the Troopers did not alleviate the fear. Too many bad memories.
    I asked, “Didn’t you trust the teachers?” They confessed that they didn’t because they never knew what was going on. They were told to be quiet and to not ask questions.
    Like all grandfathers, my grandchildren are precious to me. If they are frightened, I want to know why. When I hear that there was no reassurances of their safety by competent, trained adults who earned their trust by their demonstrated ability and I think that my grandchildren are kept in a darkened room (to suggest it is not used) and kept quiet, without knowing why and without knowing that people are there to protect them, I grow very angry.
    Angry? Yes! Angry that my grandchildren are placed in a situation where they have no real trust in the adults, in whose care they are.
    The solution? Perhaps we need a wider discussion to find the answers. Is there something wrong with the trust issue with Alaska’s Troopers? How about the trust relationships between family members? Are the schools doing enough to train and possibly arm teachers? Do the teachers engender trust and confidence with students?
    Can we discuss these issues or are we too afraid ourselves to talk about what is necessary to keep our children safe?

    Norm Olson,

  2. JCF 9 May, 2014, 11:34

    No guns in my kids’ classrroms please…

  3. H 9 May, 2014, 15:55

    I heard rumors that it was a teacher they were looking for so that slightly blows your “arming teachers” theory out of the water. I think we all just take it for granted living in a small isolated town in an isolated state that bad things can happen anywhere at anytime. I think this is an unfortunate event that hopefully the school district will learn from and eventually make changes upon. There are bad apples everywhere and I believe the troopers and school district are doing the best they can. Hindsight is 20-20, anyone can look back now and say “oh I would’ve done this different” but can anyone say with certainty that they would’ve in fact done something differently? Especially with never having dealt with something like this before. At this point in time the general public does not have enough information to caste judgement on the people involved. At least they have people looking after the well-being of your children or grandchildren, because in all reality this could’ve ended very very differently.

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