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Two Proposals to Reopen Ethan Allen School for Boys: One for Children and Another for Sex Offenders

Two very different proposals to reopen the Ethan Allen School for Boys were proposed on Monday for very different reasons.     

Here are the two proposals:

1.  Responding to the controversy at Lincoln Hill School for Boys, NAACP requested the Ethan Allen School for Boys because of its proximity to Milwaukee. In 2011, the NAACP is aware that in 2011, both the Ethan Allen School for Boys (Wales, WI) and Southern Oaks School for Girls (Union Grove, WI) were closed for budgetary reasons.

The youth were transferred to Lincoln Hills School for Boys and Copper Lake Girls School in Irma, WI over 200 miles north of Milwaukee whereas Union Grove and Wales were just over 30 miles away from Milwaukee. In 2010, over half the youth in the care of WI Department of Corrections – Division of Juvenile Corrections were from Milwaukee.

According to NAACP, by moving the children so far away, the majority of the children’s families had longer distances to travel to visit their loved ones in confinement.  If the schools were closer to Milwaukee, it would also make it easier to hire more diverse staff persons and teachers.  Additionally, more diverse organizations could interact with the schools to help provide more transparency about the everyday conditions in the schools.

2.  Representative Michael Schraa (Oshkosh) is proposing to house certain sex offenders at the former Ethan Allen School for Boys, according to Alderman Zielinski.

Zielinski said he will be preparing Common Council legislation seeking to support the proposal.

“As we wrestle with seemingly never-ending issues involving housing and relocating sex offenders, in my view it makes sense to take a serious look at housing offenders at the state-owned Ethan Allen facility, which has been vacant since the summer of 2011. It makes sense that we look at locating these offenders away from neighborhoods, away from potential victims, and away from playgrounds and schools. A secure and remote location such as Ethan Allen would be a perfect place – in my opinion – to house these individuals,” said Zielinski. 

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