Grant dollars are divided into two categories: the Primary School Safety Grant and Advanced School Safety Grant. DOJ’s Primary School Safety Grants focus on baseline improvements to schools, including door locks and hardening school entryways. The Advanced School Safety Grants are awarded to schools that have met minimum security thresholds. In addition to making upgrades to school buildings, one of the School Safety Grant prerequisites is providing all full-time teachers, aides, counselors, and administrators with a minimum of three hours combined training in Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) and Trauma Informed Care/Trauma Sensitive Schools (TIC/TSS) before the end of the 2018-2019 school year; or demonstrate that staff has already received such training. Highlights from the school safety grant applicationsinclude such improvements as:
- Training for all staff on Trauma Informed Care (TIC), Trauma Sensitive Schools (TSS), Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE), Peaceful Warriors, PREPaRE, Threat Assessment and Active Shooter Response training (ALICE);
- Secure the entry areas, sidelites, and interior classroom windows with shatter resistant film, updated doors and locks;
- Allow for the remodeling of entrances and vestibule/visitor holding;
- Install and/or upgrade public address system with fire and intruder alarms;
- Install mobile-based software to be installed to effectively alert building occupants and community members of a threat;
- Labeling exterior vinyl numbers on the exterior of all building so that first responders can identify a specific area.
“The Wausau School District thanks Governor Walker, Attorney General Schimel, and state legislators for the opportunity to apply for and be awarded funding through the Department of Justice’s School Safety Grant program,” said Dr. Keith Hilts, Wausau Schools Superintendent. “Our district has been, and continues to be, very proactive in the area of school safety and security. This grant funding aligns with one of the District’s Shared Key Interests, ‘Provide safe, secure, flexible, inviting, and well-maintained environments that nurture student well-being and enhance teaching and learning,’ and will help make our schools even safer for students and staff.” Wausau School District was awarded $406,194 through the School Safety Grant program on July 10, 2018.
Over the past three months, since 2017 Wisconsin Act 143 was signed into law, the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) has consulted with numerous stakeholders in the fields of education, security, law enforcement, and mental health. These specialists, listed at the end of this press release, worked with DOJ’s own security experts to develop how the School Safety Grant Initiative will create sustainable improvements in Wisconsin schools.
Grant applicants are required to partner with law enforcement agencies to ensure that proposed expenditures, visitor protocols, and school safety plans will be effective and provide students with the safest learning environment possible.
“Wausau schools are safer today because of the $400,000 grant application approved through the Wisconsin Department of Justice School Safety Grant program,” said Wausau Police Chief Ben Bliven. “The Wausau Police Department is firmly committed to the safety of our children and we are grateful for this School Safety initiative to strengthen the security of our local schools.”
In addition to helping keep schools safe from violent attacks, DOJ will be closely monitoring for behavior that could affect a school’s ability to pay market rates for products like door locks and shatter-resistant film for glass. DOJ will review and investigate any instances of inappropriate pricing behavior so the benefits of the program are not reduced.
Following is a list of organizations who have met with DOJ staff, and consulted on the creation of the Office of School Safety and the grant process and criteria.
- Association of Wisconsin School Administrators
- Badger State Sheriffs Association
- CESA 4, 7, 10
- Federal Bureau of Investigation
- Wisconsin Association of School Boards
- Wisconsin Association of School Business Officials
- Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators
- Wisconsin Association of School Nurses
- Wisconsin Catholic Conference
- Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Association
- Wisconsin Council of Administrators of Special Services
- Wisconsin Council of Religious and Independent Schools
- Wisconsin Department of Administration
- Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
- Wisconsin Education Association Council
- Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association
- Wisconsin Juvenile Officers Association
- Wisconsin Professional Police Association
- Wisconsin Retired Educators’ Association