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Wisconsin announces $45 million in mental health funding for school safety

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel announced a $45 million dollar state investment in mental health funding for schools Tuesday.

Schimel made the announcement after awarding $5 million in grants to a combined 67 schools and school districts. He said even after all schools applied for the $100 million allotted by the state legislature, there was nearly half left over.

"Well the schools were frugal," Schimel said. "And we estimated conservatively, so we ended up with more money than we thought."

The first grants were for physical security. The new ones will train teachers to handle student's mental health issues.

"To identify the problems earlier," Schimel said."Make sure we get help to those kids at risk, and we can prevent problems down the road.

Some of the $45 million will form intervention task forces between schools and law enforcement. Milwaukee County Sheriff Richard Schmidt says he fully supports the effort.

"Across the country we've seen some absolutely horrific outcomes," Schmidt said. "Catastrophic results. I don't like to see parents having to come and see their children in less than an excellent state."

Schools say working with law enforcement like Milwaukee Police is already improving safety.

"Having a professional detective eye look at a school building and assess entry way access is really really very helpful for us," Seton Catholic Schools President Don Drees said.

Schimel says schools can apply for the new mental health grants in September. He hopes to give them out by October.

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