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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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