Editor’s note: following is submitted copy from Edgerton School District Administrator Dr. Dennis Pauli.
Thank you to the Edgerton School District students and staff and to our Local Law Enforcement—job well done!
I’ve heard it said that true character is demonstrated during times of adversity. The impeccable character of our students and staff was clearly evident the past two weeks when our schools were placed in a non-emergency (soft) lock down as a result of the manhunt for Joseph Jakubowski, the suspect wanted in connection with a gun shop burglary in Janesville. During the non-emergency lock down students were not allowed to go outside for recess or physical education classes. Inside the buildings, the day proceeded as normal.
The non-emergency lock down began on the morning of Thursday, April 6th, when local law enforcement informed school district officials of the manhunt. Parents were notified immediately of the non-emergency lock down situation. The Edgerton Police increased their presence at all of our schools and the Rock County Sheriff’s Department did the same at Yahara Valley Elementary School. Throughout the non-emergency lock downs, both departments were highly visible and cooperative.
During the manhunt I had ongoing communication with the Edgerton Police Department, Rock County Sheriff’s Department, and area superintendents. Parents and staff were provided regular updates as to the status of the non-emergency lock down. The lock down continued until Jakubowski’s capture on April 14th.
So what does five days of a non-emergency lock down actually mean? Students are not allowed outside for recess or classes. This can be challenging for all students, especially at the elementary level where physical activity is essential to student well-being and their ability to concentrate. Exacerbating the challenge was the beautiful weather on each day of the lock down. Our staff did an outstanding job keeping the school day as a normal as possible including finding enjoyable alternatives to outdoor recess. Throughout the lock down students and staff moved freely throughout the building maintaining a normal academic day.
The impact of a nation-wide manhunt locally was unprecedented. The fear and uncertainty the situation caused our community was unfortunate. Our students and staff prepare for many types of emergencies and incidents hoping to never have to use the training in a real situation. For the past two weeks we were prepared and vigilant in maintaining a safe learning environment for our teachers to teach and students to learn. Communication with students regarding the incident was succinct, accurate and age appropriate. The news of Jakubowski’s capture was a relief for all of us.
I would like to express a deep debt of gratitude to our staff and students for their handling of the non-emergency lock down. I would like to express a debt of gratitude to our parents for entrusting their children and their safety to us daily. Finally, I would like to express a debt of gratitude to our local law enforcement and their efforts to keep our students and staff safe. The collaborative efforts of everyone made a challenging situation bearable. The safety of our students and staff is always the highest priority.
It is a privilege to serve as the District Administrator for the Edgerton School District.
Dr. Dennis Pauli