SPECIAL REPORT: School Security

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WAUSAU (WAOW) — School security continues to evolve 20-years after the Columbine School massacre.

But the shootings did not end.

Following the deadly 2018 Parkland, Florida shooting–Wisconsin took action.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice set aside $100 million for school safety grants.

News 9 set out to see how the tax dollars are being used.

The Abbotsford School District made dozens of improvements: secure entryways, shatterproof windows  additional security cameras and door alarms.

The district also purchased (without grant money) the Raptor Visitor system.

“It scans sex offender registries and alerts staff to any issues,” Abbotsford District Administrator Sherry Baker says.

School districts receiving grant money must have at least 10% of the staff take part in a mental health training and create intervention teams.

The teams are based on a Secret Service model–as we learned during a visit to Wausau East High.

” Threat Assessment Teams are  trained to identify struggling students and determine if they are a threat and what to do,” Wausau Director of Pupil Services Angie Lloyd says.

Wausau and Abbotsford schools  also take part in active-shooter training.

For younger children it involves watching a video but older students take part in hands-on drills.

“Students and teachers decide what action makes the most sense,” Wausau East Associate Principal Jason Sinz says. “We weigh our options–fleeing, countering and fighting back or barricading in a safe place– we rehearse that.”

East students appreciate the drills.

“The officers show us how to barricade a door and it helps,” Senior Maggie Mishall says.

Wisconsin mental health groups have concerns.

“The use of police officers and the active-shooter training make our schools fortresses,” Wisconsin Family Ties Policy Director Joanne Juhnke says.

She wants more counselors and psychologists available for students.

Governor Evers budget proposal calls for increased school funding for mental health services.

 

 

mlangbehn

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