The School District of Fort Atkinson held an active threat training Aug. 28, in conjunction with local law enforcement.

Last year, the Fort Atkinson Middle and High School teams completed the training. This year, all elementary staff and new staff were required to attend so they can improve their skills on how to protect the district’s children as One Team.

As Jefferson County Sheriff’s Deputy Bill Dandoy explained, “These are life skills that can be used anywhere at any time. You are building a survival mindset and it will take practice. We hope you never have to activate and execute these skills, but if you are called to do so, you will have them in your toolbox.”

Deputy Dandoy was joined by Lisa Otterbacher, the City of Whitewater’s retired chief of police; Officer Dan Hefty, Fort Atkinson school-resource officer; and Officer Troy Oestreich, Lake Mills school resource officer.

“Wednesday morning was a tremendous opportunity for the elementary staff and new staff members to refocus our minds and purposes on the important issue of student and staff safety,” stated Brent Torrenga, principal of Barrie Elementary School. “While this kind of training can be raw and emotional at times, the energy that Deputy Dandoy and his team brought left all of us feeling greatly prepared and confident in our response procedures. That morning was once again validation of our love and concern for the students in our schools!”

Meanwhile, Otterbacher remarked, “Most of the world is good, but we need to be prepared on how to deal with the small amount of bad.”

The training was broken into three different sections, each teaching a different skill set. Fort HealthCare nurses facilitated one of the breakout sessions to train the team on how to “Stop the Bleed,” which is a national program that empowers participants to help in a bleeding emergency before professional help arrives.

“Training in the area of threat safety is of utmost importance for the district,” commented Leigh Ann Scheuerell, principal of Purdy Elementary School. “It was great to see that our staff was taking on this training as new life skill learning.

“In today’s society, it’s important that we all learn how to best protect ourselves and each other no matter where a danger or threat might occur,” she emphasized. “This training gives us the tools needed to know what to do in any emergency.

The principal said she is grateful for the commitment of the district’s staff to the community’s family and children, adding: “They are in great hands!”

“Our community has entrusted us with their kids,” Scheuerell said. “We are their teacher, but if we are faced with an active threat we then become their protector, and we will protect our kids.”

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