A student in Nunapitchuk brought an airsoft pistol to school during a make-up day on Oct. 19, putting the school on lockdown. The student has since been arrested and charged with third degree assault and terroristic threatening.
Airsoft pistols often resemble actual handguns, and shoot plastic pellets that can raise a welt. They are considered “nonlethal.” According to Lower Kuskokwim School District Superintendent Dan Walker, airsoft pistols are banned from school premises.
But last Saturday, a student in Nunapitchuk broke that rule. According to both Walker and a release from Alaska State Troopers, the student threatened other students with the airsoft pistol during a weekend make-up day. The student then left the school, but was later arrested and remanded to the Bethel Youth Facility.
Walker said that school policy is to notify law enforcement immediately when they learn that a student has brought a weapon, including a gun that can shoot a bullet, or one that can shoot a plastic pellet. A student who breaks the rule barring guns will face severe consequences, including expulsion. Walker said that the district gives information about the weapons policy to parents, but relies on the parents to tell their kids.
The Nunapitchuk incident occurred less than two weeks after LKSD had to investigate a possible school shooting threat at the high school in Bethel. No evidence supporting the threat emerged, but it prompted many discussions about the subject between parents and their children.