December 3, 2021

Dear Parents,

As you have probably seen in the news, early this week there was a shooting incident at a school in the community of Oxford, Michigan.  This would be devastating for any community and our thoughts and prayers are with the students, parents, and school staff in Oxford. In addition, this morning we learned that schools in Cadillac and three other Central/Northern Michigan districts have closed today due to potential threats to safety.
I'm communicating with you today in a follow-up to these incidents. It is quite possible some of our students may be feeling upset or anxious due to the events described above.  In these cases, we want to provide appropriate social/emotional support to our students.  Our Elementary and Jr./Sr. High School Counselors and Social Workers, in collaboration with Principals, will communicate their availability today to meet individually or in small groups with students in gr. 5-12, should students feel the need.  Teachers have also been requested to keep an eye out for students who may appear upset by the events. 

If parents know their particular student has been upset by what has happened in Oxford and/or the school closings in our region, counselors would appreciate being made aware so the proper support can be provided.  Please contact the school if that is the case.  Also, parents should feel free to keep their students home if they feel that is the best course of action at this time.
As it relates to our campuses, our School Safety Officer will be increasing his visibility in the halls and classrooms on both campuses today. In addition, this afternoon the Principals and I will meet with the School Safety Officer to review our current School Emergency Plan.  We will update the plan, if necessary, and communicate with staff about any changes and/or important reminders. 
Sometimes after events such as the one which took place in Oxford, we learn that a friend or family member of the shooter had some idea or knowledge of the possibility of the event before it occurred, but was reluctant to contact school authorities or the police about their concerns.  We are communicating to students today, and I request the same of parents, that any awareness of possible threats to the well-being of our students or staff should be reported to school staff or the local police.  

Lastly, today we are reminding students that it is important to be careful of what is said and the language used both verbally and online.  Words, even if meant as a "joke" could result in serious consequences in the current environment. 

As always, we thank students, parents, and other members of our community for their support.


Joe Hollenbeck