Wisconsin has a long history of trying to provide safe and secure schools for students of all ages. In 1968, the non-profit group Wisconsin School Safety Coordinator’s Association was founded to improve security and safety in Wisconsin schools. Over the years, parents, teachers and administrators worked together on the local level and elected officials and government employees worked together on the state and national levels to promote safe learning environments for students.
The Wisconsin School Safety Act
In 2010, the Wisconsin School Safety Act went into effect. The Act addressed issues of school safety and requires public and private schools to:
- Create a school safety plan. The safety plan should be created with active participation from local law enforcement officers, fire fighters, school administrators, mental health professionals, teachers, and others.
- Have a process for reviewing the school safety plan.
- Include guidelines specifying procedures for emergency prevention and mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery and methods for conducting drills required to comply with the plan.
- Determine who should receive training about the school safety plan based on the prioritized needs, risks, and vulnerabilities.
- Conduct drills of the safety procedures included in the plan.
- Conduct fire and tornado drills.
Schools were required to have their safety plans in place by May 2013 and to review them at least once every three years.
The law does not tell schools what they must include in their school safety plans. However, schools should take reasonable safety precautions based on things such as their location and age of their students. Thus, a preschool in rural Wisconsin may have a very different safety plan than a Milwaukee high school. Yet both schools are required to have a school safety plan in place, to have staff trained in the plan, to conduct drills of the plan, and to provide reasonable security for all students.
Does This Mean Parents Can Be Assured Their Child’s School Is Secure?
As a parent, it can be scary to let your child go to school every day and to trust that the adults in charge are going to keep your child safe.
If you have any questions about your specific school’s safety plan, then please contact the building principal or administrator for more information.
And if you have any questions about your child being hurt at school—or any other common location for negligent security incidents—then please contact an experienced negligent security lawyer via this website.