Second round of school safety grants focus on mental health

MANITOWOC, Wis. (WBAY) - Several schools will benefit from a second round of safety grants.

MGN

This fall, hundreds of Wisconsin public and private schools will receive a total $48 million focused on mental health.

About $4 million from those grants was recently announced, including $198,872 to the Menasha Joint School District; $106,884 to Shawano schools; $38,824 for Valders schools; and $34,120 to Fox Valley Lutheran.

The first round of safety grants provided school districts with $48 million for safety upgrades.

The grant comes from the Wisconsin Department of Justice's Office of School Safety. It set up a $100 million school safety plan after the high school shooting in Parkland, Fla., in February.

The latest grants were announced Thursday in Manitowoc, where school officials and law enforcement received school safety training they will share around the state.

It's aimed at helping schools develop a standard emergency response protocol.

In 2006, a gunman in Colorado entered a high school and took 7 girls hostage, including John-Michael Keyes' 16-year-old daughter Emily.

Before she was shot and killed, she texted her parents "I Love You Guys".

Keyes turned his tragic loss into an effort to help schools nationwide develop a standard emergency response protocol.

"There wasn't a common language between students, staff and first responders in a crisis," Keyes discovered. "We did some homework and found a handful of districts around the country that were using some very specific language, and we used that as the core to put together the standard response protocol which is based on four actions: Lockout, Lockdown, Evacuate and Shelter."

Attending Keyes' training session was state Attorney General Brad Schimel, who announced that $48 million in grant money is headed for Wisconsin schools this fall for student mental health initiatives.

"I've had teachers tell me many times that they can tell by kindergarten or first grade which kids are going to be struggling by the time they get to junior high. We've not ever taken good enough advantage of that information, and that's part of the goal here is now to leverage that to be able to get those kids help," Schimel said.

Schimel said grant money awarded will be based on a per student formula -- around $55 per student -- and will come with some conditions.

"It will require that 10 percent of all full-time teachers and counselors complete 12 hours of advanced adolescent mental health training," the attorney general said. "Schools will also be required to establish a school safety intervention team; they will be monitoring behavior of kids that are at risk."



 
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