Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel is concerned about school safety, for parents, teachers, and students. Schimel and the state legislature secured $100 million in safety grants in March. Nearly half of the grants went to improving school security, while the other half was committed to mental health and response. Now, officials are speaking out in praise of Schimel’s new Office of School Safety.
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CBS 58: The office was formed this year, and Director Kristen Devitt was named as the head of the department in July. “Even before I became a school resource officer, I was a child welfare worker, and I worked in both Chicago and the North Georgia mountains, so I worked in very rural and very urban environments working with children and families. That, when I became police officer, really helped me decide to become a school resource officer,” said Devitt.
“[They will] help guide us in our goals in the future and the types of things we need to put into place to keep our schools safe. We’re trying to engage parents, educate parents, to report things they see that indicate someone is planning an attack. They’re on social media too so they can be our eyes and our ears,” said Devitt.
One of the goals for the Office of School Safety is to give students a tool to be the eyes and ears to keep schools safe. They plan to make a statewide virtual tip reporting system.
Right Wisconsin: First, $100 million may sounds like a lot of money (the second round of grant funding itself comes to approximately $48 million) but measured against the young lives this training will save, it is a remarkable return on investment.
That’s why I have been so supportive of the creation of the Office of School Safety within the Wisconsin Department of Justice. Under Attorney General Brad Schimel’s leadership, this new office allocated $100 million dollars to schools across Wisconsin. These safety grants focus on physical security improvements for our school as well as advanced mental health training.
First, $100 million may sounds like a lot of money (the second round of grant funding itself comes to approximately $48 million) but measured against the young lives this training will save, it is a remarkable return on investment.
Second, the training in early-intervention and mental health provided is best-in-class and centralized. The Wisconsin Department of Justice, in conjunction with a model established by the national Secret Service, will help assemble and train school safety intervention teams (SSITs). These teams will, over time, become equipped by the best professionals to assess threats and identify students in need of support.
Finally, the coordination aspect, from the view of a law enforcement officer, is a dream-come-true.
So, when grant opportunities that involve the partnership of the entire community, like the one spearheaded by Attorney General Brad Schimel, law enforcement jumps at the opportunity to get to work. I’m glad to have a willing and capable partner in Brad Schimel to meet the challenge of school safety together.