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Update on West High School Altercation

Update: Nov. 16, 2021

I’d like to provide another update to keep you informed on how today went for our students. It was a smooth day overall, and students were back to “doing school” as normal, with some additional supports.

 

There was an increased presence of School Resource Officers on site, and District staff and community leaders remained present in hallways. 

 

We started the day with morning announcements via Zoom so students could see my face. It was important to me to let them know staff are here to support. A lot of students witnessed the fighting yesterday and we want them to know they have resources if they need someone to talk to. 

 

This morning the Superintendent, myself, and admin staff spent time visiting classrooms to dispel the rumors and answer questions from students. Staff assured students there were no weapons found and that no one was taken in an ambulance due to being injured.

 

We altered today’s schedule so there were two different lunch periods,  and we staggered release times to reduce crowd sizes. 

 

The incident is still under investigation. I don’t have a confirmed number of suspensions or arrests.  Our SROs forwarded about 20 student names to Juvenile Justice, which will determine charges. 

 

Additional threats circulated on social media last night and this morning and have been investigated. Rumors are taken seriously and investigated by SROs. If you see threats circulating on social media, please reach out to APD with the information. 

 

Misinformation spread by bloggers and on social media fuel rumors and have hurt our efforts to accurately communicate information with our school community. For the best information, please continue to look for updates from myself and the Anchorage School District. Communicating timely and accurate information to families is a high priority. Information will come first through email/phone notifications and is often shared on the ASD news page and social media platforms. If you have immediate concerns, please reach out to me or the West High School main office first instead of posting and engaging in hearsay and rumors on social media. 

 

I’d like to thank our students and families for your patience and cooperation over the past couple days. The events that occurred yesterday involved about 20 out of our 1,840 students. The majority of students understand conflict resolution and know to come to the adults around them when there is an issue. It’s important to me to give a sense of security back to our students. 

 

Overall today was a great day. Please continue to talk to your kids about how they are feeling and please reach out to me with any questions you have.

 

Thank you,

Sven Gustafson

West High School Principal

 

Original: Nov. 15th 2021:

Today, West High School administrators contacted School Resource Officers (SROs) to assist with multiple student altercations that took place during the lunch hour.

 

SROs responded to assist with crowd dispersion and student support. 

 

Please do NOT pick up your student from school early today unless you have been notified by school administrators. 

 

Students not involved with the incidents were sent to their 4th period class, and a stay-put was put into place at West High School and Romig Middle School. The stay-put will likely stay in place until student release time.

 

Our partners at the Anchorage Police Department are on site to work with school administrators regarding disciplinary actions with the 20-30 students who were involved. EMTs are onsite as a precaution. There are no apparent serious injuries and there have been no hospitalizations.

 

I want to reiterate that the safety of our students and staff here at West High School is a top priority. We take all matters involving physical and verbal altercations seriously. Students have responsibilities as members of our school community to respect and follow the laws of the school community and respect the rights of other members of the school community. Intentionally or recklessly causing or threatening physical injury to another person is prohibited. 

 

Please talk to your students about the events that occurred today, how it made them feel, then help them identify stressors in their life, and healthy ways to work through these struggles. 

 

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me. 

 

Sincerely, 

Sven Gustafson

West High School Principal