OSS to Allocate School Safety Grant Funds for Unmet Digital Mapping Need
MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of School Safety (OSS) announces today that a portion of the school safety grant funds, totaling $1,528,341.03, will be allocated to address the unmet need for digital mapping of school buildings. These funds are from the $100 million allocated in 2017 Wisconsin Act 143.
“Our Office of School Safety has made incredible strides in making our state’s schools safer for our kids,” said Attorney General Kaul. “Digital mapping can help ensure that schools and law enforcement are prepared to work together quickly and effectively if a critical incident occurs.”
The original legislation creating the Office of School Safety requires every school district and private school governing body in Wisconsin to submit blueprints of their school to the local law enforcement agency with jurisdiction over their school and OSS. 2021 Wisconsin Act 109 amended 2017 Wisconsin Act 143 and allows school boards and governing bodies of private schools to submit digital mapping data to law enforcement and OSS in lieu of blueprints. Digital mapping data is used to enhance security and increase situational awareness for first responders.
2021 Wisconsin Act 109 also created a $2 million grant program to assist school boards and governing bodies of private schools in submitting digital mapping data. Applicants were able to apply for up to $5,000 per building (up to a maximum of $200,000) per public school district, governing body of private schools, public schools, and tribal schools. The $2 million was insufficient to meet the need of all school applicants across the state so additional funds are needed.
With replenished funding, OSS again seeks applications from Wisconsin public, private, charter, and tribal schools interested in obtaining digital mapping data. The grant announcement is available here: School Safety Grants. Please email email@example.com with any questions. Previous applicants do not need to reapply. Previously submitted grant applications will be processed in the order they were received.
About Office of School Safety
OSS was created with bipartisan support in 2018 in response to the Parkland, Fla. school shooting and has proven to be a critical resource for Wisconsin schools. Since its inception, OSS has distributed nearly $100 million for safety enhancements, threat assessment training, and mental health training to public, private, charter, and tribal schools throughout Wisconsin. OSS staff offer free trainings to all Wisconsin schools and law enforcement partners. OSS staff are certified to train a variety of courses that follow national best practices related to the prevention of targeted violence, threat assessment and management, crisis response, safety planning, and trauma informed school safety drills. OSS staff continue to expand the trainings offered to ensure that Wisconsin schools have a comprehensive toolkit to help keep kids safe.
OSS launched and maintains Speak Up, Speak Out (SUSO), a 24/7 statewide confidential reporting system free to all Wisconsin schools. SUSO harnesses the power of bystanders and aims to promote the reporting of concerns before violence or tragedy happens. Since its inception, SUSO has received more than 6,000 tips for a variety of concerns impacting school aged youth including lifesaving tips.
Students, parents, school staff, or any community members can submit a school safety concern or threat via the SUSO website, mobile phone application, or toll-free number.
SUSO Reports can be made 24 hours a day, 7 days a week:
- Online at speakup.widoj.gov
- 1-800-MY-SUSO-1 (1-800-697-8761)
- Mobile app (iOS/Android)
OSS also has established and trained twelve Critical Incident Response Teams (CIRTs) around the state. CIRTs are designed to provide all Wisconsin K-12 public, private, charter and tribal schools with access to a regionally based team to support them if a critical incident ever occurs at their school. Each CIRT is made up of volunteers who are part of a multi-disciplinary team. These teams include law enforcement officers, school administrators, counselors, psychologists, social workers, nurses, teachers, school safety experts, and representatives from other related professions. The mission of the CIRT program is to minimize the psychological impact of a school critical incident; provide resources to help stabilize the school community; work to identify individuals that may require long-term mental health services after a critical incident occurs; and offer support to school administrators and educators. Wisconsin is the first state to implement regionally-based CIRTs on a statewide basis.
OSS was initially supported by more than $2 million in federal grant funding from the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance. OSS is currently supported by more than $1.8 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding which will end in December of 2023. DOJ has requested that the legislature permanently fund OSS in the next biennial budget.