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Letter to Parents/Guardians and Patrons on recent events and lock down of school

January 07, 2016


January 7, 2016


Parents, Guardians and Patrons of Niobrara Public Schools:

On January 5, 2016 Niobrara Public Schools resumed classes for students for the second semester.  At approximately 1:40 p.m. Niobrara Public Schools was informed by Niobrara Police that we needed to go into lockdown immediately due to an armed gunman in the area.  Once word was given, all outside doors were locked down and no students or staff left the buildings in which they were located.  Limited information was available during the afternoon hours.  At approximately 3:40 p.m. Nebraska State Patrol arrived to provide a controlled release of students and staff.  Students and staff exited the building without incident and were asked to go directly home and stay home for the evening. 

During the late evening hours of January 5, the Knox County Sheriff, Don Henery contacted me at home to advise that the situation was more than likely moved out of the area.  Through conversation with the Sheriff it was determined that it would be best to have a late start for students and staff so they could travel during daylight hours on Wednesday January 7, 2016 to school.

Wednesday January 6, 2016 Niobrara Police Captain, Doug Salmen, stopped at the school at approximately 9:20 a.m. to debrief about the prior day situation.  Officer Salmen patrolled the area during the arrival of students to school that day.  At school we were in a “Safe Mode”.  Safe Mode is when all exterior doors are locked and we limit who can and cannot enter the building throughout the day.  Students moved from class to class as normal and when they needed to switch buildings they were accompanied by escorts to ensure that everyone was accounted for and arrived at their correct locations.  All recess and outside activities were moved indoors for the day.

Thursday January 7, 2016 at approximately 8:40 a.m. Sheriff Henery contacted the school by phone to let us officially know that the situation was over.  By this time the news media had already been given a release from the authorities about the situation and everyone at school was aware that the threat was over.

During the entire two days Niobrara Public School provided parents with the information it was given through the call system we have in place.  Unfortunately, there were some parents that did not get contacted as a result of inaccurate numbers, numbers no longer in service, or simply no contact information currently available. 

Niobrara Public Schools would like to send a heartfelt thank you to all the law enforcement officers that were present and took part in the situation.  The situation was very serious and they helped to ensure the safety and security of the entire campus.  Additionally, the students and staff of Niobrara Public Schools need to be commended on their orderly response to the situation.  Please know that the safety of students and staff is the ultimate goal at Niobrara Public Schools and we appreciate your cooperation with us through this very stressful situation. 



Margaret Sandoz, Superintendent of Schools

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