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Wisconsin school safety grants in action on first day of school

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel went to New Berlin West on the first day of school to see how they spent the $120,000 in grant money they received for school safety.

Schools all over the state are currently installing about $50 million dollars worth of safety upgrades.

Schimel saw first hand how it was being used.

"It strikes a nice balance because you’ve added the security, but it doesn’t feel like you’re going into a prison,” Schimel said, as he took a tour of the school

New Berlin Superintendent Joe Garza says the grant money goes a long way, with things like state of the art security cameras.

“If someone opens the door, and that triggers one of our cameras, and so we know exactly what’s happening at that specific entry,” Garza said.

The grants also gave schools shatterproof glass, and mandated closer ties with local law enforcement to bring a different perspective.

“In the police world we talk about trying to harden the target and make the schools more difficult for people who are looking to do harm to the students or staff,” School Safety Officer Noah Phillips said.

New Berlin staff say the biggest change is a secure main entrance.

The state legislature authorized $100 million dollars for school safety.

The first half has been spent on physical upgrades. The next half will go toward mental health training for teachers.

“Some kids who might have been engaging in violence down the road. We can maybe prevent that by acting earlier,” Schimel said.

Schimel extended the deadline to next week to apply for the second wave of grants because of schools dealing with flooding.

He hopes to have those awarded by mid-October.




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