Friday, December 21, 2012

Letter to the Editor

It has been quite a while since I have posted a blog.  Shame on me, and slap my hand.  I wish it was different, but some scary events in Connecticut caused me to sit down and write again.  The below was also submitted to the local paper who graciously printed it, so I held off on putting it here on Bronco Bits until that paper was released.  Although this post is about a week after I wrote it, the value remains, if for nothing more than my opportunity to write it.


We live in an incomprehensible world.  That fact is not hard to support following the truly horrific events of this past Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.  The loss of 26 lives – most of them young, innocent children – is something that we must now confront.  Although it is not sensible or logical to us, it is an inexplicable reality of our existence that these atrocities are possible.  At the Belmond-Klemme Community School District, it is imperative that we are not only aware that these potential threats exist but also that we maintain a preventative attitude and are prepared to move to action when necessary.  The remarkable educators in our buildings – including our teaching and associate staff, our custodial and food service department, and our transportation and leadership teams – all are part of keeping our students safe.  The simple phrase, “Plan for the worst, but hope for the best,” is a quick demonstration of our approach.  Our school has teamed with law enforcement, assessed our buildings and grounds, collaborated with our community, organized emergency provisions, and prepared a Crisis Plan that we want never to enact.  Today our school setting, both locally and nationally, looks much different than it did before the school attack at Columbine High School in April of 1999.  It is frequently less convenient and less accessible.  There are more routines and checks.  Additional procedures and practices are in place.  It is my belief that our community has come to understand these inconveniences and our individuals have adapted to these challenges.  Although we expect that our precautionary measures minimize the risk of many potential threats, we also continue to routinely plan, practice, and evaluate our processes in the event of an emergency.  Much like those individuals at Sandy Hook, our most effective response lies in those individuals within our buildings that care greatly for those around them.  As I feel sadness, horror, and empathy for the families and residents of Newtown, there is also a sense of pride for the educators that provided safety for their students.  Taking care of each other is both preventative and reactionary, and our Belmond-Klemme staff and students understand this and take it to heart.  On behalf of the outstanding educators of our district, I want to thank our community for your continued partnership in providing a quality education in a setting of safety and security for the students we serve.

Marshall Lewis, Superintendent
Belmond-Klemme CSD

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