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OASD superintendent: We have a safety plan in place

Official responds to concerns after shooting

Dec. 19, 2012

Oconomowoc Area School District - In the wake of the tragedy that gripped a small Connecticut town last week after a young man killed 20 children and six adults at an elementary school in Newtown, Superintendent Dr. Pat Neudecker addressed the issue in a letter to district parents.

"No words are sufficient to adequately grieve the loss of Newtown's innocent children and adults, nor will we ever be able to comprehend this tragedy. Our sympathy extends to those families and their community and to all who are impacted by this unthinkable event," Neudecker said.

The superintendent took the opportunity to confirm for parents that safety procedures are in place at district schools.

"Please also know that the safety and well being of our OASD students and staff are always a priority for us and we especially now turn our heightened attention to our school sites. While we cannot control our external world, we will do everything possible to ensure safety in our buildings.

"All OASD school sites have safety plans. Our standard operating procedure includes locked doors, controlled access to the best of our ability, and regular drills for students and staff in preparation for a variety of threatening events. We will continue to monitor and review our plans, and we will be especially watchful this week," she added.

Neudecker emphasized that staff members are prepared to handle emergencies.

"Our best line of defense in any situation will be our people. Please know that our staff is highly dedicated and fully aware of the responsibility they are entrusted with. They are also prepared for emergencies, with district and community resources supporting them. As always, please join with us in ensuring safety in our community; it is a time for all of us to reach out to each other," she wrote to parents.

At the elementary level, staff will not initiate discussion of the Newtown shootings, but "will address issues as they arise," the superintendent said.

"Students will process information and grieve in a variety of ways, especially depending on their age. Throughout this week, our staff will address students in age-appropriate ways.

"The superintendent said that her message was being sent by the districtwide communication system, which she termed "another tool of great benefit," because it allows her to instantly contact parents in cases of emergency.

"We are doing the best we can, but we also need to work together as a large OASD family. Even in tragedy, we must never lose our way, that is to focus on what is most important in life, and take care of each other," Neudecker said.

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Weekend Happenings

Featured this week:  

The Art of the Bicycle: 11 a.m. Nov. 21, 26, Delafield Arts Center, 719 Genesee St., Delafield. Diane Lehman, Peter Kudlata and Wheel & Sprocket. Gallery hours are 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. first and third Saturdays and by appointment, Free www.delafieldartscenter.org.

Organ Concert: 1:30 p.m. Nov. 21, St. Jerome Catholic Church, 995 S. Silver Lake St., Oconomowoc. Oconomowoc Music Club is hosting a concert by renowned organist Dr. Simone Gheller. Refreshments will be served after the concert. Free.

Yuletide Faire: 5-9 p.m. Nov. 21; 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Nov. 22, Prairie Hill Waldorf School, N14-W29143 Silvernail Road, Pewaukee. $4 in advance or $5 at the door for adults and $1 in advance or $2 at the door for children under 15. Features strolling minstrels and costumed characters, puppet shows, storytelling, candle dipping, face painting, children’s craft workshops, children’s holiday shopping, live music, silent auction, children’s book sale, natural toys, 35 vendors, warm food, homemade desserts, candies, nuts and other treats. 

Fashionable Tidings Gala Luncheon: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Nov. 22, Country Springs Hotel, 2810 Golf Road, Pewaukee. Holiday fashions of local clothiers Paul Bruce Goodman and Liebling Leather. Music by Brusubardis String Ensemble. Lunch includes shrimp scamp and angel hair pasta with vegetables provencale. Wine tasting  and auction. Benefits Waukesha Choral Union. $35. Call (414) 297-9310 for tickets. www.choralunion.org.

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