Oshkosh West closed Thursday; district provides guidance for Friday return

(WBAY Photo)
(WBAY Photo)(WBAY)
Published: Dec. 4, 2019 at 5:29 AM CST
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No classes will be held at Oshkosh West High School Thursday as the community continues to recover mentally and emotionally after a school resource officer shot a student who stabbed him in his office.

Classes were canceled throughout the district Wednesday. Only Oshkosh West will be closed Thursday.

The district says Oshkosh West will re-open for classes on Friday, Dec. 6. Students will report to 1st hour classes. Zero hour classes are canceled for Friday.

The district provided this guidance for Oshkosh West students as they prepare to return to class:

• Retrieving Student Belongings - Thursday: West students and parents/guardians can access the building on Thursday, December 5 between Noon and 2 p.m. to retrieve any personal belongings in classrooms. Please enter through Door # 24 and go directly to the 2nd-hour classroom or location to retrieve belongings. Oshkosh West staff will be present to assist.

• Counseling Services - Thursday: Counseling services will be available at Oshkosh West High School in the media center from Noon to 2 p.m. on Thursday, December 5. Students and families are encouraged to access counseling if additional supports are needed.

• Athletic Practices and Events - Thursday: Athletic practices and events will resume Thursday afternoon as scheduled.

• Resuming Classes - Friday: Classes at Oshkosh West will resume on Friday, December 6, 2019, with 1st-hour. Zero hour classes are canceled for Friday. Any students who do not have a 1st-hour class in their schedule are welcome to gather in the O Room during 1st-hour.

• Ongoing Support - Friday and Ongoing: As the Oshkosh West school community returns to classes on Friday, please know that additional resources will be in place to ensure that all students and staff are supported as the healing process begins. OASD administration has been working to support staff and students so that the entire team is able to support the school community. Please know that there will also be increased police presence at West and throughout the District on Friday.

Counselors, social workers and psychologists from throughout the Oshkosh area will be available to students, families and staff members to provide mental health support on Wednesday:

Perry Tipler Middle School - 9 a.m. - 6 p.m., December 4

Merrill Middle School - 12 p.m. - 3 p.m., December 4

Roosevelt Elementary School - 3 p.m. - 6 p.m., December 4

for additional mental health resources.

The state has identified the Oshkosh West School Resource Officer involved in the altercation with the student as Michael Wissink.

Wissink is a 21-year veteran of the Oshkosh Police Department. He has been a school resource officer since 2017.

Wissink is expected to recover from the injuries he suffered in the stabbing.

Action 2 News spoke with Oshkosh Area School District Superintendent Dr. Vickie Cartwright Wednesday morning. She talked about the decision to make mental health a priority as families cope with the tragedy.

"As parents are talking with their children, if they are recognizing that they may need to talk with a professional related to this, we wanted to make sure those opportunities were made available to our parents and caregivers in order to provide for our students," says Cartwright.

"Right now is a time for our community to start that healing process. We know that it is going to take a little bit of time in order to do that. We are optimistic that we will recover and we will become a stronger community as a result of this."

Oshkosh YMCA locations will open Wednesday for children ages 6-18 years-old. Hours are 7:30 a.m. - 6 p.m. There will be no charge. Non-members under the age of 12 must be signed in by an adult.

The EAA Museum is open free of charge to all Oshkosh students, families, faculty and Oshkosh Police. This offer will extend through Dec. 8.

There will be no after-school activities for the Oshkosh Area School District Wednesday.

"We understand that many of our families have children in multiple schools and that the best way for children to navigate the recent safety incident at Oshkosh West is through the support of parents/guardians. We encourage families to access the support and counseling resources available," reads a statement from the Oshkosh Area School District.

The Oshkosh Fire Department thanked the nearby Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and Immanuel Lutheran Church for offering their places of worship to firefighters and police. They also provided coffee and treats to the first responders.

"Thank you to our wonderful community! Words cannot express how grateful we are for everything that has been done for us in the past 24 hours," reads a Facebook post from the Oshkosh Police Department. "We are truly blessed to be working in such a caring and thoughtful community. Thank you for being amazing! #strongcommunity"

The Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation has taken over the investigation into the stabbing and officer-involved shooting. It is Wisconsin law to have an outside agency handle an investigation into a shooting involving an officer.

"This is a tragedy," said Police Chief Dean Smith. "But together we're going to come through. We're going to make everyone whole."

Here's what we know:

At 9:12 a.m., Winnebago County dispatchers received a call from the Oshkosh West school resource officer requesting help and an ambulance. Two minutes later, the first responding officer arrived at the school at 375 N Eagle St.

"It was determined that there was an altercation at the SRO's office between the officer and a 16-year-old student. Initial reports saw that the student produced a weapon and stabbed the officer, at which time the officer fired on the student, striking the student one time," said Oshkosh Police Chief Dean Smith.

The student and Officer Wissink were taken to a local hospital for treatment. Chief Dean Smith does not believe their injuries are life-threatening.

No other students were hurt, according to the police. Smith says investigators believe only one student was involved.

Chief Smith says the student used an "edged weapon" but stopped short of saying it was a knife.

The school resource officer carries a 9mm, according to Chief Smith.

Oshkosh West was placed on lockdown. Students were taken to Perry Tipler Middle School, 325 S Eagle St, where they were reunited with parents.

Investigators have not released the name of the student.

for full coverage of Tuesday's events.


Stay with Action 2 News for updates on this breaking news story.

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