“Speak Up, Speak Out” tip-line turns 2

Attorney General Josh Kaul visited Neenah High School to tout the hotline for reporting threats, bullying and other problems at school
Published: Sep. 13, 2022 at 8:34 PM CDT
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NEENAH, Wis. (WBAY) - “Speak Up, Speak Out,” a tip line used by anyone to report important concerns related to school safety, marked its second year of operation this month.

Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul was in Neenah Tuesday, sharing experiences from schools around the state that have utilized the program. He said it’s successfully kept Wisconsin students safe.

Speak Up, Speak Out, or SUSO, offers schools a number of resources, including a threat reporting system, threat assessment consultation, and general school safety guidance.

Since its inception just over two years ago, Kaul says the tip line has helped over 400 schools that received at least one tip. Between September 2021 and August 2022, SUSO contacted about 230 schools about a possible tip.

Kaul says those tips included a number of various concerns teachers, counselors and faculty may have had.

“We’ve also received concerns about bullying. Concerns that students may harm themselves, and that often leads to a welfare check. We have trained analysts who are trained to respond. And in some cases, there have been concerns that a student might harm others, and in that case it also leads to trained analysts to make sure a quick response is provided,” the attorney general said.

The DOJ plans to ask the Legislature to permanently fund the program in the next biennial budget.

Initially, the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Office of School Safety was given $2 million in federal funding. Right now the Office of School Safety is supported by $1.8 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding, but that expires at the end of next year.