Wisconsin leaders push for $2.2M in funding to keep school safety resources alive

ByDaniela Prizont-Cado, WDJT, CNNWire
Friday, April 7, 2023
Chicago parents, kids worry about possible school shootings: survey
While the US deals with a deadly Nashville shooting, Lurie Children's Hospital found that Chicago parents and kids worry about future school shootings

Attorney General Josh Kaul said millions of dollars are needed to protect schools across the state, which is why he is pushing for more money to be included in the state's budget to go toward the Department of Justice's state Office of School Safety.

The video featured is from a previous report.

"It would require about $2.2 million over a two-year budget period," said Attorney General Kaul.

Wisconsin's DOJ Office of School Safety was created five years ago in the wake of the Parkland, Florida school shooting, WDJT reported.

"It would be a shame if the national model that is being used by so many school districts and schools across the state of Wisconsin isn't funded fully going into this next biannual budget," said Dr. Demond Means, superintendent of the Wauwatosa School District.

Kaul and other leaders have been pushing for this for weeks now, but on Thursday, they specifically spoke about the importance of keeping their "Speak Up, Speak Out" program alive. It's a threat-reporting resource center that may also come to an end once federal funding ends in December.

The tipline allows anyone to anonymously alert law enforcement of any type of danger -- whether there's a possible shooting, a bullying situation or someone is dealing with suicidal thoughts.

At least 10 anonymous tips have already been reported this year alone through the "Speak Up, Speak Out" program.

"It promotes a concept of help seeking rather than secrecy and privacy when people are struggling," explained Trish Kilpin, the director of the Office of School Safety.

Wauwatosa is one of the school districts that has received school safety grants in the past.

"We've invested in things like window film for schools, just to kind of delay any kind of intrusion that might try to happen. We enhanced our camera systems, the technology behind all of that, put some additional alarm systems," said Keith Brightman, chief of finance and operations at the school district.

That money, however, has already run out, and leaders say stable, permanent funding is needed in order for the Office of School Safety to continue to provide these resources free of charge to public and private schools.

(The-CNN-Wire & 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.)