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Appleton school district receives nearly $800,000 safety grant

(WBAY)
Published: Jun. 21, 2018 at 10:42 AM CDT
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The Appleton Area School District is receiving nearly $800,000 from the state for school safety upgrades.

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel announced the latest round of school safety grants Thursday in Appleton.

The Appleton Area School District is getting $767,207 from the Department of Justice's Office of School Safety.

Here's the list of 14 grants announced Thursday:

• Appleton Area School District, $767,207;

• D.C. Everest Area School District, $239,975;

• Unified School District of De Pere, $62,200;

• Howards Grove School District, $66,757;

• Lena School District, $61,720;

• Menasha Joint School District, $164,600;

• Mishicot School District, $63,090;

• Muskego-Norway School District, $33,659;

• Phelps School District, $23,107;

• Saint Peter Catholic School, $20,000;

• Sturgeon Bay School District, $103,930;

• Waupun Area School District, $99,979;

• Winter School District, $62,385;

• Waupaca Christian Academy, $20,000

The grants can be used for improving building safety and training faculty in case of a shooting or other attack.

Work is already underway at Highlands Elementary School in Appleton.

"Here at Highlands today they're right in the process of remodeling their entrance area to improve control," said Dr. Judy Baseman, Superintendent of Schools. "That work has started because of that referendum that we had previously, but the grant will allow us to take that even further with security cameras in all of our buildings."

The Menasha School District intends to use money to add safety film on windows and cameras at its eight schools.

"Regardless of the size of the district it's important that we keep our kids safe and we want our students to feel like when they come to school it's a safe and nurturing environment. And so it's vital that we take every step we can to make it as safe as possible," says Chris VanderHeyden, Superintendent of Menasha Joint School district.

The Attorney General says along with the addition of security measures to school buildings, an important part of this grant is to help teachers and faculty train on Adverse Childhood Experiences and Trauma Informed Care before the end of the 2018-2019 school year.

"It's going to help them be eyes and ears to help recognize the kids who've had some kind of traumatic experience outside of school. Help address that earlier on and get that child some help," Schimel said.

Baseman says the grant will aid in mental health programs for Appleton high schools and middle schools.

"By working very, very hard to increase those connections with staff in terms of student mental health and wellness that this is going to be huge for us in terms of ensuring those connections," Baseman said.

The Office of School Safety was set up in response to the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

The legislature established a $100 million School Safety Plan to distribute grants to schools.

"We wanted to create a solution that would allow local school districts and local law enforcement to plan to fit their needs," Schimel said. "We know each community knows best what's best for their children."

Earlier this month,

Wautoma officials said the money will allow an overhaul of the school safety plan. They intend to harden school entrances and windows at the district's four schools.

STATEMENT FROM DR. JUDY BASEMAN, SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS FOR APPLETON AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT.

“We are so grateful to the Wisconsin Department of Justice for awarding our district this school safety grant. It will allow us to continue making improvements in the overall security of our district’s thirty-four schools, specifically in our ability to delay and/or detect threats through primary and advanced security measures, as well as to provide additional staff training and support. Our goal is to find a proper balance between creating schools that are safe and secure while also maintaining an open and caring environment where students, staff, parents and community members feel welcome at our schools. This grant will help to ensure that we are doing everything that we can to keep our learners safe every day.”