North Star

DEREK CLARKSTON/Kodiak Daily Mirror

An Alaska State Trooper vehicle is parked outside of North Star Elementary School Wednesday. 

According to Alaska State Troopers, North Star Elementary School was evacuated Wednesday morning due to a suspicious item left outside the school.

It turns out that item was an empty wooden box.

“It was placed there by an individual that was running along the roadway. (He) saw the empty wooden box and believed it may have belonged to somebody at the school, so he left it at the school entrance,” said Austin McDaniel, communication director for the Alaska State Troopers.

McDaniel said law enforcement spoke with the individual who left the box outside the school. According to police, all the students and staff left the school unharmed. 

The day’s scare started at 10:12 a.m. when the Kodiak Island Borough School District’s central office was alerted about the box — referred to as a “suspicious item” at the time — outside the school. According to school district superintendent Cyndy Mika, the Kodiak Police Department and the troopers were notified about the item. KPD, the Alaska State Troopers and the Alaska Wildlife Troopers responded to the school and secured the area. Students and staff were sheltered from the site until a First Student Transportation bus arrived to take them to the nearby Bayside Fire Station.  

Families were asked to pick up their children at Bayside. By noon, a long line of people had formed in front of the fire station to pick up their children while law enforcement directed traffic and acted as crossing guards on Rezanof Drive.

“I know that today was a stressful situation for all families and staff involved, as well as our entire KIBSD community,” Mika wrote in a release to families shortly after 4 p.m. “Our response was in the best interest of student and staff safety, which will always be our highest priority.” 

Mika said the school district would be conducting an after-action review with emergency responders to help identify what went well and what areas could be improved if an evacuation were to happen again. 

“An event like this reminds us of how connected we are all to each other. I’m grateful to live in a community that works together in times of need,” Mika said in the release. 

“I know that as I drive home tonight and greet my son with a hug, I’ll be saying a prayer of thanksgiving that the events of the day were resolved in the manner they were and that all our students and staff are safe.” 

The troopers thanked KPD, U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service and the FBI for assisting with the response and investigation.

“We appreciate the Kodiak community’s patience and assistance with the investigation and response to this incident,” a trooper report said.

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