Dear Parents, Staff, Students, and District Patrons,
I am sure everyone is aware of the tragedy that unfolded Friday, December 14th, in a small Connecticut elementary school. Please continue to pray for all the victims and the families that are affected by this unbelievable tragedy. As a parent and grandparent, I am sad and angry that this tragedy occurred, it is unthinkable. But, as your Superintendent of Schools I believe it is important to communicate to you what steps the school administration and staff have taken and will be taking over the next few months to improve our safety program. First, we need to acknowledge that we are all sad beyond measure and angry that such an incident occurred, let alone in an elementary school. However, in the face of those deep emotions, we need to channel that energy to do whatever is necessary to ensure the safety of everyone on our campus. I realize that we cannot make guarantees, but I can guarantee that we will work tirelessly to do everything humanly possible to ensure our children and staff members are in a safe learning environment.
Fortunately, we have already been reviewing our safety plans, consulting with local emergency responders, adjusting school procedures, and making changes to our facilities based on best safety practices. Nevertheless, on Monday, December 17, 2012, we will implement additional security precautions until the students are dismissed for Christmas Break on Friday December 21, 2012 at 11:30 am. The changes will be:
1. Only three doors will be accessible during the school day. The entrance doors to the Linn County Area Career and Technical Center, the entrance doors outside of the Superintendent’s Office in the High School, and the Elementary/Middle School Entrance Doors.
2. At each of the three entrances, we will have police officers assigned to each entrance to monitor all visitors entering the building. I would like to personally thank Police Chief Dave Hane and the Brookfield Police Department for their cooperation and assistance during this difficult time. The Police Department has been very supportive and shares our commitment to do everything possible to protect our children and district patrons. As you enter the facilities you may be addressed by the officers or district administration about your purpose for visiting the school; please be patient and understanding if this occurs, it is only for safety purposes.
3. Also, throughout the upcoming week we will have a police officer monitoring the elementary and early childhood playground areas, throughout the upcoming week, and checking all exterior doors to ensure those doors are secured throughout the day.
4. We will have counselors available if students or staff members need to talk about the tragedy and how to effectively deal with the various emotions. As a parent or guardian, if you would like for your child to speak with a counselor please do not hesitate to contact their building administrator and we will be sure they will be connected with a counselor.
Page 2 of 2 - 5. During the upcoming week the district administration, in cooperation with local emergency responders, will be reviewing existing district procedures regarding campus visitors, the release of students during the day, student transportation, etc. If changes are made to existing procedures we will communicate those changes to parents/guardians as soon as possible.
Finally, I want to assure you that the Board of Education, Administration, and Staff are committed to providing our children a safe, positive, learning environment; however, we cannot accomplish this goal alone. We need all members of our school community to come together with the same single focus of helping to support the safety measures as those measures are implemented. Unfortunately, we live in a time where we must demand safety over convenience. If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call my office at (660) 258-7443.
Paul M. Barger, Superintendent