Kettering Parents and Community Members:

At this very difficult time, our thoughts are with the young victims of the tragedy that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14th, and we extend our deepest sympathies to the families and to the entire Newtown, Connecticut community as they deal with this horrible tragedy.

These types of tragedies compel us to talk with our own parents and community about the issue of safety in our schools. Student safety in school and at extra-curricular activities is the absolute top priority for everyone in the Kettering Schools. Sadly, even schools are not immune to violence, as today’s tragedy and recent incidents here in our own state and across the country have shown.

Our schools are public facilities and we work hard to make them open, welcoming and inviting. At the same time, we are mindful of our responsibility to keep students safe while they are at school. We do have safety procedures in place, such as locking doors in our buildings and requiring visitors to our schools to check in at our main offices. In addition, in the Kettering Schools, we work hard to know our students and families. We work hard to know their lives and their issues. We believe that our teachers and staff members are vigilant in working to know if something is not right, seeing danger coming and acting proactively to avert trouble. This is our first line of defense.

We also work in partnership with the Kettering Police Department in having School Resource Officers in our buildings on a daily basis, getting to know our students, providing support to our staff and serving as a resource in best practices for safety in a public buildings.

All of our buildings engage in regular practice drills — such as lock-downs and tornado and fire drills — so that we are prepared to respond to emergencies. And students are encouraged to report to an adult any knowledge they may have of a potential threat, be it confirmed or a rumor…and can do so anonymously.

I pledge to you that we will continue to do whatever it takes to keep our students…your children, grandchildren, neighbors and friends…safe in our schools. Thank you for the support you provide to the schools that allows us to make student safety a top priority and thank you for your understanding of the steps we take every day to assure that every child is safe while he or she is in school.

Knowing the Kettering community as I do, I am confident that our entire community joins together in sending our thoughts and sympathies to the Newtown community as they struggle to cope with this unimaginable tragedy.

Dr. Jim Schoenlein
Kettering City Schools

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