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Wisconsin DOJ launches new program to report school safety threats

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MADISON, Wis. (WAOW) -- State officials have launched a new reporting system where students, parents and school staff can report school safety threats or concerns.

Attorney General Josh Kaul announced Wednesday morning that the Wisconsin Department of Justice Office of School Safety (OSS) is launching the SPEAK UP, SPEAK OUT (SUSO) Resource Center.

The program is a 24/7 comprehensive, one-stop place to turn with important school safety concerns.

“This new, free 24/7 school safety tool is available to support school communities across the state in preventing school violence. Whether students are concerned for their own safety or the safety of others, Speak Up, Speak Out can assist them in getting the help they need,” said Attorney General Kaul.

The program provides a 24/7 threat reporting system, critical incident response, threat assessment consultation, and a general school safety guidance.

Students, parents, school staff, or any community members can submit tips through three methods:

  • Online at https://speakup.widoj.gov/
  • Download the SPEAK UP, SPEAK OUT app in the Apple Store of Google Play store.
  • Call 1-800-MY-SUSO-1

Resource Center staff work around-the-clock to respond to tips and deploy a response locally by working directly with school administrators, law enforcement and counselors.

There may be some concerns that an anonymous tip line could lead to an increase in swatting. The director of the office of school safety says the analysts working on the program will have tools to vet the information, and it'll be vetted at the local level too.

At a time when school looks different for many students, Stanford Taylor says this program is important now more than ever.

“Schools train and prepare for threats, but unfortunately dangerous situations can happen anywhere at any time," she said.

Since June, OSS has been working with law enforcement, educators and schools to educate and train school safety professionals how to use SUSO in their schools.

The program was created at the direction and approval of OSS, Wisconsin School Safety Coordinators Association, Wisconsin Safe and Healthy Schools Center, and also includes students, legislators, Wisconsin Rural School Alliance, law enforcement, Wisconsin Council of Religious & Independent Schools, and many others.

The program is funded through $2 million in federal grant funding from the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance.

Click here to learn more about SUSO.

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Sierra Rehm

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