The Manawa Police Department and the Waupaca County Sherriff’s Department in conjunction with the administration of the School District of Manawa held a lockdown at the Little Wolf Junior Senior High School, Wednesday, Dec. 19.
District Administrator Ed Dombrowski said the lockdown training exercise was planned before the events that took place in Newtown, Conn. on Friday, Dec. 14.
“We try to plan it about two months in advance because you have to coordinate with the different agencies that are involved,” Dombrowski said. At 9 a.m. Wednesday morning, a letter from Dombrowski was emailed to the Little Wolf Junior Senior High School faculty as well as the media, Dombrowski said. The letter stated that the building would be locked down from 9 a.m. until approximately 11:30 a.m. Students were informed at 9:15 a.m.
The letter went on to state that students would be held in their classrooms until the Waupaca County Sherriff’s Department accompanied by trained drug identifying canines completed their search of the building and school parking lot.
“What we are looking for is any type of contraband or drugs within the school,” Dombrowski said in an interview after the training exercise had concluded.
Dombrowski said nothing was found during the training exercise.
With the training exercise being planned for the last two months, Dombrowski said the events that took place in Newtown, Conn. reinforced the need of this training exercise.
“If it had affected the elementary school we may have thought about that differently, but we decided we wanted to move forward with this because we think it’s appropriate and it gives us a chance to see what our procedures are,” Dombrowski said.
Dombrowski said the district did meet with the Manawa Police Department the day after the events in Newtown, Conn. to review the district’s emergency procedures.
“We wanted to make sure that those are correct and updated,” Dombrowski said. “We also scheduled a walkthrough of our buildings so that Chief Walker can get an idea and give use some ideas of some security measures that we should maybe put in place or that he sees that we are not aware of.
Dombrowski described the meeting as an “awareness” meeting.
“We know that events like this are very catastrophic in terms of how they affect people in the community,” Dombrowski said. “We also want to let the community know that we are on top of this and we are doing what we need to do to be able to make sure we provide a safe and secure environment for our children.”