Chippewa County (WQOW) – Your school may be adding to its security measures, and that new measure could give school officials, students and law enforcement more time to react to active threats.
A situation parents, teachers and students fear is a gunman opening fire at their school. In the unlikelihood of it happening at your school, districts are taking an extra step to keep their students safe.
"Back in late March, early April, the governor put out $100 million in grants to schools for safety training and infrastructure improvements," said Charlie Schneider, facilities management executive director for the Cooperative Educational Service Agency (CESA) 10.
Now, almost $50 million in grants have been given out. Several schools want to install security windows with a special film.
"We weren’t even locking our doors, because I said ‘Well, they could just break the glass and open the door,’" said Dr. Paul Schley, Cornell School District administrator. "Well, now that we’d have this film we’ll be able to secure the perimeter."
CESA 10 has partnered with a security window company, NuVision Window Films, to offer lower prices to Wisconsin schools. They held a demonstration on Friday to show what these windows can withstand, but, the security windows are not indestructible.
"It’s not a bullet proof film," said Schneider. "It doesn’t make it bulletproof, but it makes it shatter proof. So, that as the glass will actually shatter, but it will hold together. We would slow someone down who wants to get into the building, or into a specific room to do harm."
CESA 10 officials said the film can delay a threat for 30 to 90 seconds, giving everyone more time to react to the situation, but, what if the threat is already inside?
"If the threat is already in the building, each school has a procedure plan, a safety plan in which they follow activate certain protocol," said Wendy Stelter, retired Chippewa Falls police chief. "This is practiced a lot in the schools throughout the state. So, I think most students are very well aware of no matter where they are within the building, they know where they would have to go should something be happening at the time."
Although Stelter has retired, she’s out to support any initiative to keep schools safe.
"If this can be a part of making a difference, this is what I am here to do," said Stelter.
Chippewa Falls schools are installing the security film at exterior entrances, classroom doors and other big interior windows. CESA 10 has offered to sell the film to 150 Wisconsin school districts for $15 a square foot. The normal price for security films is $18.