Ashwaubenon High School is one of five schools in the district that will be getting safety upgrades due to a grant from the Wisconsin Department of Justice. Press File Photo
By Kevin Boneske
ASHWAUUBENON – The Ashwaubenon School District has been awarded $99,870 through the Wisconsin Department of Justice School Safety Grant program.
The grant administered by the DOJ’s Office of School Safety was announced Thursday, June 28, by Attorney General Brad Schimel.
He noted a combined 147 schools and school districts across the state will share in more than $10 million in the latest round of grants to be spent on building safety improvements, as well as training for faculty and staff.
“The DOJ Office of School Safety is moving fast to award school safety grants,” Schimel said. “The nearly $10 million (in) grants being awarded to large and small schools across the state incentivizes school officials and law enforcement to make meaningful improvements to Wisconsin school safety through physical improvements and a focus on mental health training for school faculty.”
In addition to making upgrades to school buildings, Schimel said 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 2018-19 school year, or demonstrate that staff has already received such training.
He said grant applicants are also required to partner with law enforcement agencies to ensure proposed expenditures, visitor protocols and school safety plans will be effective and provide students with the safest learning environment possible.
“We feel just very fortunate that the DOJ awarded these grants,” said Ashwaubenon Superintendent Kurt Weyers.
He noted the grant money the district is receiving will be used for security upgrades at all five of its school buildings.
Weyers said the firm McKinstry, which conducted a preliminary school security assessment earlier this year and found the district was doing a good job with measures currently in place, helped spearhead projects being looked at to put in place with the grant for Ashwaubenon’s schools.
He also noted McKinstry, the district’s crisis team and Ashwaubenon Public Safety were involved in the application process, for which the grant specified what a district could ask for to receive funding.
Weyers said the grant money will be used in three areas with around $60,000 designated to upgrade the district’s camera systems to have the ability to monitor the cameras all day long, around $20,000 to add some shatter-resistant film for windows at building entrances and another $15,000 to $20,000 toward upgrading the district’s radio/public address systems.
He said the district’s goal is to have those security upgrades installed by the start of the 2018-19 school year.
In addition to the planned security upgrades being reimbursed with the DOJ grant money, Weyers said the district will continue to work with McKinstry and look at other possible measures to improve school security.