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December 19, 2012 Dear Parents, Advent and Christmas greetings to you in the name of our Lord and Savior

Jesus Christ! I am writing to you during this festive season with a heavy heart as I ponder and pray about the recent events at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The tragedy that occurred is nothing short of catastrophic and I encourage you to continue lifting up the school, families, staff, and community in your prayers that they may be comforted and encouraged by God’s abundant grace and the sure hope of the resurrection. As we have had almost a week to learn more about the events of December 14, I feel compelled to share this message with you. Among the many questions that we ponder at times like these, one seems to emerge most: Why would a loving God allow such devastation to occur upon the innocents? I do not know. Search the Internet or ask your pastor and you will find many detailed answers, some better than others, but none that can definitively answer the question. Paul shares in 1 Corinthians 13:12: Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. (v. 12). Only God knows and that’s enough. The events at Newtown, or Aurora, Colorado, or Virginia Tech, or Nazi Germany, you fill in the blank, fulfill what Jesus shared in John 16:33: In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. Two things are certain—we will experience trouble and Jesus provides an eternal solution to those earthy hardships. When things are rotten—we lose a job, a loved one, a reputation, you name it—what people do not need is a theological treatise. What they do need is to meet the One Who secured the victory on the cross, claiming us as His for eternity, making the present suffering a trifle in the big picture, even if we would never, ever suggest that it is a trifle at the present! Christians can boldly, lovingly share this truth. What a blessing! The potential for bad things to happen at Mayer Lutheran High School has directed us to develop a comprehensive emergency readiness plan that is reviewed on an annual basis and updated as best practices in school safety emerge. A newly-formed school safety committee, consisting of the School Leadership Team, meets monthly to discuss any safety concerns that could affect our school community. We regularly lock down the school building during the school day with only the main entrance available for the general public to use. (It is a continual battle as locker room exterior doors seem to magically be propped open time and time again, even as we regularly patrol and close them.) We have regular “lock-down” drills that simulate what to do in the unlikely case that an intruder enters our building. We are blessed to maintain an authenticallycollegial working relationship with the Carver County Sheriff’s office and have ready access to their expertise both in improving our safety protocols and welcoming them to our campus in the rare cases when the need arises. When the need to deal with grief arises, we have access to Mrs. Kelzer, Pastor Wismar, and a faithful team of local pastors who are willing to step in and skillfully offer real comfort from God’s Word. Our staff is trained to be vigilant in recognizing situations that may develop and how to report any potential dangers they may discover in addition to being trained in basic first aid and CPR procedures. And, most importantly, we

routinely pray for God’s continued protection for our school family. Ultimately, our well-being is always in His mighty hands. Sandy Hook School is set on a state-of-the-art campus designed with safety in mind. Their staff followed a similar emergency plan to ours along with appropriate training. Disaster still struck. Yet, I want you to know that their tragedy is extremely rare. American schools are the safest places for kids in our nation. American school busses are the safest forms of land transportation as well. Our kids are secure, and by God’s grace, will continue to find Mayer Lutheran High School to be a place that not only prepares them to be Christian leaders, but also is a safe haven where they can learn and grow, free from fear and harm. The precious kids and workers at MLHS deserve nothing less and we are blessed to offer it. Thank you for taking the time to read this message. If you have any concerns, comments, or suggestions please contact me or any of our staff at any time. Again, please keep the Newtown community in your prayers. Have a blessed Christmas and New Year! In Christ,

Joel P. Landskroener Executive Director Mayer Lutheran High School