‘How can we make our schools safer?’: Madison principal reacts to school safety grant program

AG Brad Schimel: Applications are open
‘How can we make our schools safer?’: Madison principal reacts to school safety grant program

St. Dennis Catholic School is one of many Wisconsin schools that will apply for money under the state’s $100 million School Safety Grant Initiative.

Applications opened Tuesday night for the program, which is open to public and private K-12 schools in the state.

“Really it’s not about a private or public issue. It’s a kid issue: How we can make our schools safer for kids? Often people think well private schools have the money to do it, but we’re all in the same boat,” said Principal Matt Beisser.

The grant program was created under 2017 Wisconsin Act 143, which Gov. Scott Walker signed into law in March.

Joined by St. Dennis students and law enforcement officers from around the state, Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel encouraged every K-12 school to apply for the grant money at a news conference Wednesday.

“We have no greater responsibility than providing safe school environments free from violence,” Schimel said. “I look forward to providing necessary training and resources to make our children safer.”

He said about 3,100 private and public schools qualify for the program, and if all of them apply, the schools would get an average award of $32,000.

About a third of the $100 million would go toward making sure every school has a limited access point to the public, complete with things like shatterproof glass and locks on the doors, according to the Department of Justice.

Schools would then compete for the remaining money, which would go toward advanced school safety grants. Advanced grants will be awarded for trauma-informed care training for staff, video intercom systems and exit door alarms, according to the DOJ.

School administrators interested in applying for a school safety grant should create an account on the Egrants online system. Applications are due by June 8, and the grants will be awarded later that month. Schimel said that should give schools enough time to make the security upgrades by the end of the summer.