December 18, 2012
Dear Onteora Community:
Throughout the day yesterday, we received several e-mails and phone calls from concerned parents. Understandably, parents wanted to be reassured that Onteora is using appropriate precautions following the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Please know that we take your child’s safety very seriously. The Onteora School District follows a State-approved plan to keep students safe, discourage school violence and, if need be, to deal with crises. Yesterday morning, all of our buildings were prepared to meet the children.
The Superintendent spoke with the State Police who, along with local police, visited each of our schools at least once, and in some cases more. Our Principals also communicated with the Police. As Superintendent, I checked in with each of the five buildings by phone and also in person.
Overall, the day went very well. The tone of each of the buildings was a little quiet, but nurturing. Attendance was very good, and the day was calm. There were no conversations in the primary buildings about the tragedy in Connecticut, with the exception of one class that I heard where all but three students knew…so the children and their teacher discussed it. At Bennett, the teachers and other professional staff were prepared to talk with the students and most of these students knew of the tragedy. And at the Middle School and High School, as part of the morning announcements, there was a brief and thoughtful acknowledgement that was followed by a moment of silence.
I was very happy and proud to see how our district responded. We will continue to be vigilant, and we will also be debriefing for continuous growth. Thank you for your support in this matter.
And, as my final note, on behalf of the entire Onteora Central School District community, I would like to once again extend our deepest sympathies to the children, families, and staff of Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Phyllis McGill, Superintendent