Walker signs $100 million school safety plan for Wisconsin

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KAUKAUNA, Wis. (WBAY) - Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has signed into law a $100 million school safety plan.

Surrounded by local lawmakers, school board members and fourth graders, the governor signed the bill into law at Victor Haen Elementary School in Kaukauna.

"This is just one more commitment to make sure that our students, our teachers, our staff, and our parents and all who visit our schools are absolutely safe going forward," Walker said.

The bill includes $100 million in grants specifically for security upgrades at schools.

School districts will now work with law enforcement to determine the necessary security upgrades.

In Kaukauna, they'll also seek advice from the students.

"They live in our schools every day. They know what works, what isn't working. We can learn from kids," said Superintendent Mark Duerwaechter. "There's a national movement going on. We can learn from kids and that's why it's important to bring everybody in to the conversation."

Schools can begin immediately requesting grants for upgrades.

"This is not the end. This is really a very strong beginning or a continuation for school safety so we're going to work really hard to make it work for Kaukauna schools," Duerwaechter says.

Here's what the law does:

--Creates Office of School Safety in the Wisconsin Department of Justice. This will focus on training and resources for schools.

--$100 million to fund a grant program for school security upgrades.

"These dollars, grants can be used both for physical changes to improve the infrastructure, to address safety issues, as well as things like school safety officers," Walker says.

--Mandates reporting threats of school violence.

--Requires schools to partner with local law enforcement to do security assessments of buildings

Click here to read the full school security plan.

The bill was introduced following the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The Feb. 14 shooting killed 17 students and staff.

The bill passed the legislature with bipartisan support.

Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson was critical of the governor because he didn't address the wishes of local students who took part in March for Our Lives gun reform rallies over the weekend.

Nelson's full statement:

“Two days ago, students across Outagamie County and the country showed us what it means to flex our constitutional muscles. Their message to government officials was clear: protect us.
Seven years into his tenure (and one year before the next election) Governor Walker has finally taken action. That it took so long is mystifying. After Sandy Hook he did nothing. After Aurora, nothing. After San Bernadino and Orlando, nothing. Even after Oak Creek—where six innocent people were murdered in his virtual back yard, he remained idle.

How would the 2,000 students and parents who marched in Appleton on Saturday respond to today’s bill signing?

The students were clear. They are calling for common-sense reform and they’re calling for it now. We need look no further than Appleton Police Department, which released a well thought-out proposal that offers-common sense measures for making communities safer. It’s the kind of leadership our children deserve.”





 
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