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Security stepped up due to Stevens Point rumor


STEVENS POINT, WI (WSAU) -  Many schools are stepping up security measures in light of last week’s Connecticut school shooting incident. One district is in central Wisconsin, where no one is taking a rumor lightly.

Stevens Point Administrator, Dr. Attila J. Weninger says there was an unsubstantiated rumor heard at Stevens Point Area Senior High about someone shooting a weapon in the school Friday. Even though it’s only a rumor, Weninger says they are not taking any chances.

He says there are three additional police officers on duty today, tomorrow, and Friday at the high school, and at other district facilities. “We have a police officer at each of our elementary schools each of the three days as well, and we’re being very vigilant about entrances and exits.”

The Superintendent says classes and activities will go on as scheduled, but they will be paying close attention to what’s happening around them. “We are maintaining all of our regular activities during the day and after school as well. We’ve beefed up security in some of our after school activities such as boy’s basketball, but we’re going to continue operating as normal. We believe that’s the best thing to do, and to be as normal as we possible can, and be vigilant at the same time.”

Weninger says parents who feel it’s not safe for the children have the right to keep them out of school. He says staff has talked to students about violence, and they have an open letter to parents on their website with some important links to more information. “There is a link to the National Association of School Psychologists website, and there’s a resource on the front page of that website called Talking to Children About Violence, in light of the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, and I would strongly encourage parents to view that website which you can link directly from the letter.”

Many schools already have locked doors and mandatory office check-ins for visitors. Wausau Schools recently started locking classroom doors between the bells, too.

The Stevens Point Schools website is: www.pointschools.netYou will find the school district’s letter Dr. Weninger referred to on the front page of that site.

The National Association of School Psychologists website is: http://www.nasponline.org/

The letter from NASP is found with this direct link: http://www.wisp.k12.wi.us/education/page/download.php?fileinfo=TkFTUF8tX1RhbGtpbmdfdG9fQ2hpbGRyZW5fQWJvdXRfVmlvbGVuY2UucGRmOjo6L3d3dy9zY2hvb2xzL3NjL3JlbW90ZS9pbWFnZXMvZG9jbWdyLzM0NDZmaWxlMjQyNjcucGRm&sectiondetailid=1 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012  

Dear Parents and Guardians,The Newtown Tragedy this past Friday causes us to do several things.First, please hug your children, our students, and know that they are unconditionally loved and cared for, and that their safety is our first concern.Second, we will be prepared and vigilant in our security measures, as best we are able, each day.  As I stated on Friday, we have upgraded and improved our Emergency Operations Plans across the District and in each site.  We will heighten those in the coming days and weeks in order to bring a greater safety to students, staff, and parents.The National Association of School Psychologists has a very helpful website  www.nasponline.org  for all of us.  One of those resources, Talking to Children about Violence, is posted on our website for you.  Please take advantage of it, as will our staff.  More importantly, our School Psychologists, School Social Workers, and Counselors are ready to assist any student, parent, and staff member who may need assistance.  Reaching out for assistance is an important step to take in order to overcome this heavy burden.  According to the National Association of School Psychologists it is important to keep in mind that an event like this is rare.  Schools are one of the safest places for children and youth during the school day, and an important place for them to receive support and return to normalcy.  Communication and collaboration among schools, parents, and communities is critical to ensure that our students continue to view schools as safe, caring, and supportive environments.  Further, how adults react to this tragedy can shape the way children and youth react and their perceptions of safety.  Third, the Stevens Point Police Department, the Plover Police Department, The County Sherriff’s Department, and the District are working together to ensure the safety of our students every day and particularly when rumors begin.  This is one of the advantages that we have living and working in a strong, communicative community.  To that end, please know the following.

1.   There will be a uniformed Plover Policeman in Plover-Whiting and Roosevelt schools for the rest of this week from 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. 

2.   There will be uniformed County Sherriff’s Officer in Kennedy and McDill schools for the rest of this week from 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

3.   There will be uniformed Stevens Point Police Officer in Bannach, Jefferson, McKinley, Madison, and Washington schools for the rest of the week from 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

4.   At the Junior High Schools, the existing Stevens Point Police Liaison Officers will be on alert and present throughout the building and entrances for the rest of this week.

5.   There will be three (3) additional Stevens Point Police Officers on duty at SPASH the rest of this week before, during and after school hours. 

6.   In addition, each school has taken measures to further increase safety based on their unique building needs and staff.

Finally, we have received several emails from parents asking about our state of preparation and offering suggestions to make our schools safer.  We will take all suggestions and review them in light of our current practices and procedures.  We thank you for taking the time to assist us in this.


Attila J. Weninger, Ph.D., Superintendent