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Superintendent Message: OSD Emergency Response

School Shooting Tragedy in Connecticut

PDF version

Nicole Albisu, OSD Superintendent

By now you have likely heard of the terrible shooting at a Connecticut Elementary school.  These recent events have both saddened and shaken us all.  Our hearts go out to the victims and families of this tragedy.  For the Ontario School District, I would like to reassure our parents that we have a detailed emergency response plan for lockdowns in the event it should be necessary and this plan will be reviewed and updated with all staff.  Nothing will ever be more important than the safety and security of our students and staff.  Every day our focus is on ensuring that our children are learning in a safe environment.  Safety will continue to be our priority.

School Safety and Security

Safety planning and training: The Ontario School District has a detailed emergency procedure plan for all schools. We train staff to handle the demands of emergencies, and all schools drill regularly for emergency responses for lockdowns, earthquakes, evacuations and more.  We rehearse for emergency situations that we hope never occur, because staff and students handle emergencies well when they have practiced what to do.

Strong relationship with police: Through the School Resource Officers program, we have two police officers that work full-time in our schools.  Additional patrol officers can respond very quickly to an emergency situation. The school district and Ontario Police work together on all areas of emergency response, including making the best decisions together for student safety.

Quick, clear communications: During an emergency, the district works with police and school staff to get accurate information about the situation and share it with parents as quickly as possible. We use email, cell phones, websites and other communication to notify parents, students and media with prompt and accurate information. It is critical that parents provide the school with complete and accurate contact information, so we can reach you in case of emergency.

Continuous improvement: Student safety is our top priority. While safety measures already are in place in our schools, we are committed to continuing to find ways to improve. The district is conducting safety assessments at every school, thoroughly reviewing physical security measures and safety procedures to ensure that our school buildings are as safe and secure as we can make them. 


Talking to Children About Traumatic Events

Our thoughts are with the families whose lives have been forever changed by this devastating event. We know it may have an impact on your family as well. You may find the following suggestions helpful when talking with your children about this tragedy, if they are aware of it.

Tips from trauma counseling and school crisis experts:

When violence, disaster or major accidents are in the news, it's often difficult to know what to say to your children. To follow are some general tips to guide you in helping your children through whatever may be frightening them