February 16, 2018
Dear Students, Parents, Staff and Community Members:
As news of the latest school shooting floods the media, we again see the faces of children, parents, and school staff shocked by another school tragedy. We cannot accept these tragedies as a normal part of life in America.
At Otsego Public Schools, we believe it is important for you to know we are focused on school safety. Over the past few years, we have participated in training and built strong and supportive relationships with law enforcement and other first responders. We know that students learn best in safe and secure environments.
Our schools are safer with the help and support of our entire community. We urge you to learn about the warning signs connected with school shooters in the United States. They include violent fantasies, anger problems, fascination with weapons, being a loner, suicidal or homicidal ideation, stalking, interest in previous shootings, paranoia, violence and cruelty, acting out, police contact, mental health issues, use of alcohol and drugs, and unusual interest in police, military, and terrorist activities. Experts say a single warning sign by itself might not be significant, but a cluster of warning signs is much more serious.
Please make sure your child knows they must tell a trusted adult immediately if they feel their school is threatened in any way. This includes sharing information about weapons or threatening acts of violence in person or online.
Finally, we need your support in helping our children cope with the painful feelings that may be triggered by the tragedy in Florida. Help your child express their feelings by making the time to ask them questions, listen, and then help them process by pointing out safeguards and what to do during an emergency. For more, you can read the National Association of School Psychologists tips for parents as well as an article from the American Psychological Association: Talking with Kids About School Shootings for Parents.
Please know that we stand united as a community against all acts of violence. We are stronger and safer when we work together as students, parents, staff, and community members.