Eau Claire (WQOW) – Last year, the Eau Claire Area School District received roughly $100,000 as part of two state-funded school safety grants.
They invested that money into school security upgrades, and News 18 got a look at how some of that money was spent ahead of the school year.
District officials say the grant money was used to install more security cameras, key card scanners, fire alarms, and several other construction projects.
A lot of it also went into training for staff including mental health first aid and how to spot suspicious activity.
Superintendent Dr. Mary Ann Hardebeck says she’s cautious about what she shares with the public, specifically about where security measures have taken place.
“We don’t want someone who maybe is looking for an opportunity to know too much about how to get past those things,” Hardebeck said. “So, it’s a little fine balance in the way that we work with the public. We certainly want them to know that we’re doing everything we possibly can to keep our campuses as safe as possible.”
For example, at Locust Lane Elementary School, the biggest security change is what the principal calls the safe entrance, which is still in progress.
Visitors used to have immediate access to the halls and children after the secretary buzzed them in.
Now guests must enter doors that lead straight to the secretary’s office first.
“Before we do any academics or any other actuates, assuring the safety of our students and our staff is the most important thing that we do,” said Locust Lane Principal Laura Schlichting. “Having projects like this that we are able to do helps in that safety and creates schools to be a safe place for learning.”
Hardebeck hopes to have most of the work done by early October.
She says all 20 schools in the district have or will have security upgrades.
One school that doesn’t have security upgrades yet is Roosevelt Elementary because the school’s future was uncertain as the district redid the boundary lines.
Hardebeck says the school board will discuss that topic at their next meeting on September 9.