De Pere school board goes further with safety plan

Published: Dec. 10, 2018 at 5:58 PM CST
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The De Pere School Board has put together its latest school safety plan. It's an 88-page document.

The state, as Action 2 News reported, is requiring schools to have crisis management protocol. They're also required to share safety plans with the community.

The De Pere School District said while safer buildings are important. It's also hoping to improve mental health resources at its schools.

Last spring, the Wisconsin Department of Justice created the office of school safety allotting $100 million in grants to K-12 schools.

The De Pere Unified School District has received about a quarter of a million dollars in grant money. It is looking to update internal technology, install video cameras, and add safety screens to windows.

“So much of the additional work, though, goes beyond safety and more into mental health, and I think that's a much longer process. It's not a simple answer with one year's worth of grants. It requires so much work and support in systems around students and around families,” said Jerry Nicholson, who is the Pupil Services Director for the Unified School District of De Pere.

Nicholson said creating good relationships between students and staff is important.

“We've done a lot in that area, and it was an area the district was already investing in. Certainly the dollars are beneficial in helping us to move along quicker. We are looking at trauma sensitive schools training, also looking at threat assessment training, there's adolescent mental health training,” said Nicholson.

The school board safety plan covers things like active shooter and hostage situations, chemical accidents, and bus accidents but Nicholson said it's about securing schools from the inside out.

“It's about connecting, supporting, and reducing the risk, for all of us, whether it's within the community or within the school,” said Nicholson.

The next step is to finalize the 88-page safety plan.