Gov. Scott Walker on Thursday called for a special session of the state Legislature to introduce a $100 million grant program to fund school security improvements.
Walker’s grant program would increase funding for updated security technologies and facilities.
The policy would also require mandatory reporting of any threats of school violence and amend bullying laws to include prompt parental notifications.
“No child, parent or teacher should ever have to feel unsafe in school,” Walker said while announcing the special session. “This package of bills focuses on ways we can help schools be safe.”
Other parts of Walker’s proposal include incorporating Trauma-Informed Care and Adverse Childhood Experiences into teacher training programs as well as establishing an office of school safety under the Wisconsin Department of Justice.
The Wisconsin Association of School Boards showed support for the increased effort towards school security.
“It is our hope that this package, which includes similar provisions to State Superintendent Tony Evers and legislative Democrat school safety proposals, garners bipartisan support from the state Legislature,” Executive Director John H. Ashley said.
Walker’s proposal comes the day after thousands of students across the state participated in a nationwide walkout to protest against school gun violence.
But Walker’s plan does not include implementing stricter gun laws desired by many Democrats. The proposal also did not include raising the minimum age to buy guns from 18 to 21 or enforcing mandatory background checks for firearms — two key aspects of the agenda supported by the thousands of high school students who marched through Madison Wednesday.
Democrats were quick to respond to Walker’s neglect to include gun control legislation in the proposal. State Representative Chris Taylor, D-Madison, issued a statement focusing on Walker’s neglection of gun legislation.
“Nothing in the Governor’s proposal makes it any more difficult for individuals who intend to harm themselves or others from obtaining firearms in the first place,” Taylor said in a statement. “[Walker] continues to be in the death-grip of the NRA, who have previously spent $3.5 million getting him elected.”