AG Schimel Awards More Than $4 Million in School Safety Grant Funding; Announces Technology Advisory Committee in Office of School Safety

(News Release) -- Attorney General Brad Schimel today announced the launch of the DOJ Office of School Safety (OSS) Technology Advisory Committee, on national “If You See Something, Say Something” Awareness Day. Attorney General Schimel also announced 55 schools and school districts will receive $4,469,377 from the second round of the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) School Safety Grant program, which focuses on advanced initiatives to bolster student mental health.

“We need to make sure that we are using all of the tools available to us, when someone sees something suspicious or threatening to our schools,” said Attorney General Schimel. “I’m excited that so many educators and law enforcement have stepped up to help our technology committee develop a tip line application that will keep our schools safe and will be good for all Wisconsin students.”

The OSS Technology Advisory Committee will develop and assist DOJ in deploying a confidential reporting application. In August 2018, the OSS applied for a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to help fund the development of the tip line application. The committee has 20 members, including law enforcement, private and public school educators, DOJ staff, CESA representatives,, private sector technology specialists, and mental health advocates. The committee will meet in November, and then quarterly thereafter.

Attorney General Schimel is also reminding families and communities in Wisconsin that September 25, 2018 is national “If You See Something, Say Something” Awareness Day.

According to a recent FBI report, “[i]n the weeks and months before an attack, many active shooters engage in behaviors that may signal impending violence.” The FBI identified the following “observable pre-attack behaviors” by past offenders in order to “make these warning signs more visible and easily identifiable”:

  • Amount or Quality of Sleep: Unusual sleep patterns or noticeable changes in sleep patterns.
  • Anger: Inappropriate displays of aggressive attitude/temper.
  • Change, Escalation, or Contextually Inappropriate Firearms Behavior: Interest in or use of firearms that appears unusual given the person’s background and experience with firearms.
  • School Performance: Appreciable decrease in academic performance; unexplained or unusual absences.
  • Changes in Weight or Eating Habits: significant weight loss or gain related to eating habits.
  • Hygiene Or Personal Appearance: noticeable and/or surprising changes in appearance or hygiene practices.
  • Impulsivity: Actions that in context appear to have been taken without usual care or forethought.
  • Interpersonal Interactions: More than the usual amount of discord in ongoing relationships with family, friends, or colleagues.
  • Leakage: Communication to a third-party of the intent to harm another person.
  • Mental Health: Indications of depression, anxiety, paranoia or other mental health concerns.
  • Physical Aggression: Inappropriate use of force; use of force beyond what was usual in the circumstances.
  • Physical Health: Significant changes in physical well-being beyond minor injuries and ailments.
  • Quality of Thinking or Communication: Indications of confused or irrational thought processes.
  • Risk-taking: Actions that show more than a usual disregard for significant negative consequences.
  • Threats/Confrontations: Direct communications to a target of intent to harm. May be delivered in person or by other means (e.g., text, email, telephone).
  • Use of Illicit Drugs or Illicit Use of Prescription Drugs: sudden and/ recent use or change in use of drugs; use beyond social norms that interferes with the activities of daily life.
  • Use or Abuse of Alcohol: Sudden and/or recent use or changes in use of alcohol; use beyond social norms that interferes with the activities of daily life.
  • Violent Media Usage: More than a usual age-appropriate interest in visual or aural depictions of violence.
  • Other: Any behavior not otherwise captured in above categories that causes more than a minimal amount of worry in the observer.

Although these behaviors are not to be considered predictive, and are not a “checklist” to determine whether a person is likely to commit a shooting, these factors are provided simply to promote awareness among the public.

If you have information that a person may commit a school shooting, or any crime, contact your local enforcement agency. If it is in an emergency, call 911.

A list of schools and school districts that were awarded round two school safety grants from September 19 to September 23, 2018 is set forth below. All grants have been assigned for review by OSS staff, and it is anticipated that this review will be 100% complete in the next two weeks. More grants will be awarded to schools that applied for the second round of grant funding in the near future, but many applications require modification by the applicant. OSS grant specialists are working quickly to help schools and school districts correct any deficient applications, and award the grants as soon as possible. OSS anticipates that it will complete all awards in October, but accomplishing this depends entirely on the ability of applicants to provide additional information or correct errors in their grant application materials. Once a grant application is reviewed and complete, it will be awarded immediately.

The second round of grant funding, utilizing approximately $48 million, will build upon the baseline mental health and physical security improvements made in the first round of grant funding by offering advanced training for teachers on mental health issues. Funds are also available to create local teams of educators, counselors, and law enforcement (called school safety intervention teams, or “SSIT”) that will assess threats and identify students in need of support. Additional physical security upgrades will also be funded. DOJ will announce plans for an estimated $3 million set aside fund in the future, which represents the balance of the $100 million appropriation.

To qualify for the second-round funds, applicants must agree to send 10 percent of full-time teachers and counselors to a DOJ-approved, 12-hour Adolescent Mental Health training by August 31, 2020, and schools may use grant funds to pay expenses incurred (tuition, travel, lodging, meals, substitute teacher pay, etc.). Schools applying must also establish an SSIT based on a model set by the U.S. Secret Service, which will engage in behavior monitoring, threat assessments, and intervention.

Under this second round, grant funding is awarded on a per-student basis, according to student enrollment as reported to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI). Each school or school district that applies will receive an estimated $55.21 per child, but no awardee will receive less than $10,000 nor receive more than $2.5 million, in order to ensure all applicants receive sufficient funding to make meaningful physical security improvements.

In March 2018, the Wisconsin State Legislature and Governor Scott Walker passed and signed 2017 Wisconsin 143into law, establishing the OSS and providing $100 million for school safety. 723 schools and school districts, 97% of public schools and approximately 40% of private schools statewide, applied for the first round of funds, and all schools that completed the application process have now received an award.

For more information on DOJ’s Office of School Safety, please visit: https://www.doj.state.wi.us/office-school-safety/office-school-safety.

List of schools awarded round two grants up until September 24, 2018:

  • All Saints Catholic School (Berlin), $10,000, Awarded 9/21/2018;
  • Alma Center School District, $32,875, Awarded 9/19/2018;
  • Arrowhead UHS School District, $120,027, Awarded 9/20/2018;
  • Augusta School District, $34,617, Awarded 9/19/2018;
  • Barron Area School District, $82,159, Awarded 9/20/2018;
  • Belleville School District, $50,690, Awarded 9/20/2018;
  • Benton School District, $11,223; Awarded 9/24/2018;
  • Bethany Lutheran School (Hustisford), $9,095, Awarded 9/20/2018;
  • Big Foot UHS School District, $26,500, Awarded 9/19/2018;
  • Bowler School District, $18,581, Awarded 9/20/2018;
  • Brighton #1 School District, $10,153, Awarded 9/19/2018;
  • Chequamegon School District, $40,615; Awarded 9/24/2018;
  • Chilton School District, $54,050; Awarded 9/24/2018;
  • Chippewa Falls Area Unified School District, $282,178, Awarded 9/20/2018;
  • Clayton School District, $19,296, Awarded 9/19/2018;
  • Clintonville Public Schools, $71,004, Awarded 9/20/2018;
  • Cudahy School District, $111,447, Awarded 9/20/2018;
  • D C Everest Area School District, $341,425, Awarded 9/19/2018;
  • De Pere School District, $247,948, Awarded 9/21/2018;
  • Greenfield School District, $190,300, Awarded 9/21/2018;
  • Hales Corners Lutheran Schools, $31,083, Awarded 9/19/2018;
  • Hillsboro School District, $29,537, Awarded 9/20/2018;
  • Iola-Scandinavia School District, $36,976, Awarded 9/20/2018;
  • Lake Mills Area School District, $97,287, Awarded 9/20/2018;
  • Lodi School District, $93,820; Awarded 9/24/2018;
  • Loyal School District, $28,328; Awarded 9/24/2018;
  • Marion School District, $26,471; Awarded 9/24/2018;
  • Melrose-Mindoro School District, $40,469, Awarded 9/20/2018;
  • Merrill Area School District, $191,972; Awarded 9/24/2018;
  • Mosinee School District, $109,757, Awarded 9/20/2018;
  • Mukwonago School District, $269,551, Awarded 9/20/2018;
  • Neillsville School District, $51,581, Awarded 9/22/2018;
  • New Holstein School District, $59,626, Awarded 9/20/2018;
  • New Richmond School District, $198,763, Awarded 9/20/2018;
  • Norris School District (Mukwonago), $10,000, Awarded 9/19/2018;
  • Oconto Unified School District, $51,373, Awarded 9/19/2018;
  • Omro School District, $63,707, Awarded 9/19/2018;
  • Our Lady of the Lake Catholic School (Ashland), $9,999; Awarded 9/24/2018;
  • Port Edwards School District, $22,470, Awarded 9/20/2018;
  • Port Washington-Saukville School District, $155,202, Awarded 9/20/2018;
  • Potosi School District, $18,495; Awarded 9/24/2018;
  • Prairie Catholic School (Prairie Du Chien), $10,000; Awarded 9/24/2018;
  • Princeton School District, $19,414; Awarded 9/24/2018;
  • Randolph School District, $26,132, Awarded 9/22/2018;
  • River Valley School District (Spring Green), $68,604, Awarded 9/19/2018;
  • Saint Augustine Preparatory Academy (Milwaukee), $28,492, Awarded 9/20/2018;
  • Saint Rose of Lima School (Cuba City), $9,953; Awarded 9/24/2018;
  • Saint Thomas Aquinas Academy (Marinette), $10,000, Awarded 9/19/2018;
  • Shoreland Lutheran High (Somers), $18,882; Awarded 9/24/2018;
  • Silver Lake J1 School District, $25,552; Awarded 9/24/2018;
  • Spooner Area School District, $63,336; Awarded 9/24/2018;
  • Syble Hopp School (De Pere), $10,656; Awarded 9/24/2018;
  • Tomahawk School District, $68,902, Awarded 9/19/2018;
  • Wabeno Area School District, $22,194, Awarded 9/20/2018;
  • Waukesha School District, $726,610, Awarded 9/20/2018.

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