'We are here for your child': A message to our families from Dr. Freiheit

Dear families, 

We are here for you. We are here for your child. We are here for our community.

We likely share many of the same emotions following another senseless school shooting — profound sadness, anger and grief. A school must be a place where students feel safe. We have been reminded once again — incomprehensibly, once again — that this can happen anywhere.

In the wake of events like this, we empathize with those who may be hesitant to send their child to school, or you may have questions and concerns about our safety measures. We want to let our families know that all of our schools have crisis plans in place. These plans are reviewed annually and schools regularly conduct safety drills. We have a great relationship and maintain regular communication with our local law enforcement agencies. Our school buildings have locked entrances and security cameras, thanks to the community’s support of a referendum in 2018. 

We also want our families to know that we have licensed school counselors, licensed school social workers and licensed school psychologists in each of our school buildings. We are fiercely proud of these supports, and they are available if your child needs additional support processing this event. 

The Minnesota Department of Education has collected a number of applicable resources on this page: Responding to Trauma and Tragedy. The links below contain information specifically about school shootings and community violence: 

We also want to acknowledge that events like this can be especially difficult for staff to process. WAPS is proud to offer an Employee Assistance Program that allows staff members to seek support from mental health providers for a range of issues. Staff members are encouraged to contact the human resources department for more information.

At Winona Area Public Schools, we are committed to meeting the needs of all learners. The recent events in Texas only strengthen our resolve to make our students feel safe, supported and loved while they are in our school buildings. 

There is no school on Monday, May 30 in observance of the Memorial Day holiday. We hope that you can spend some quality time together with your family this weekend. We plan to hug ours a little tighter, for a little longer. 

Dr. Annette K. Freiheit

Superintendent

Winona Area Public Schools