DOJ Provides $92 Million to Wisconsin Schools for Safety Improvements
MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of School Safety (OSS) just closed out an extensive grant program, having provided public, private, charter, and tribal schools throughout Wisconsin $92,466,783.27 for safety enhancements, threat assessment training, and mental health training.
“DOJ’s Office of School Safety has worked with educators across the state to make our schools safer,” said Attorney General Josh Kaul. “Every kid in Wisconsin should be able to learn in a safe environment.”
In March 2018, 2017 Wisconsin Act 143 was signed into law, establishing the OSS and providing $100 million for school safety. Since 2018, DOJ has trained more than 11,000 educators and law enforcement in Basic Threat Assessment and Adolescent Mental Health. 1,306 Wisconsin schools have trained their entire staff in at least three hours of trauma informed care and adverse childhood experiences; and more than 600 schools have established multidisciplinary threat assessment teams that meet to discuss school safety and perform threat assessments when concerns arise.
The funding also provided upgrades to the physical security of Wisconsin schools. A variety of upgrades were made; most notable were new security systems, security cameras and in some cases rebuilding entire school entrances to make them secure.
The grant also established the DOJ’s confidential threat reporting tip line, Speak Up Speak Out (SUSO). SUSO is a free resource, available to any school in Wisconsin regardless of participation in the grant program. The SUSO Resource Center is a comprehensive, one-stop place to turn with important concerns, offering a threat reporting system, threat assessment consultation, critical incident response and general school safety guidance.
The remaining $7.5 million of the $100 million grant has been allocated for additional school safety projects around the state, including:
- Emergency response grants for schools that experience a critical safety incident, and funds to develop regionally based critical incident response teams.
- School resource officer training.
- Adolescent mental health training.
- Grants to every school building in Wisconsin for SUSO promotional materials.
- A threat assessment study with the University of Wisconsin and 40 schools around the state, providing direct behavioral health services to children and to train threat assessment teams.
The team managing the close out of the grant program consists of Brian Kierzek, Sam Landowski, Theo Lucas, Grant Grywalsky, Cat Jones, Sarah Mueller, and Angelica Chapman – Sykes. The program was overseen by Stephanie La Haye.