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La Crosse school board gets update on security improvements

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The roughly $1.2 million capital improvement plan for the 2018-19 school year was presented to the La Crosse school board last night.

Part of those improvements included $50,000 for security that will include locked doors at all buildings. Visitors will need to be buzzed in, before entering.

La Crosse schools safety coordinator Scott Johnson said at the meeting that the district is now fit with 356 security cameras throughout and has trained staff in the ALICE protocol, which deals with active-shooter scenarios.

ALICE trains teachers to defend themselves against an active threat in the building. It may be taught to students, also. Johnson, however, admits that is a slippery slope.

“We really gotta be careful with how we’re implenenting that between the elementaries, the middles and the high schools,” Johnson said. “There’s so much trauma in some of their lives that if these drills get to be too traumatic, it just pushes us the wrong way.”

Johnson added that they are in the process of updating all school safety plans, as well as a visitor screening tool which would have visitors scan their driver’s license before entering the building.

Johnson would also like to change the the rotating school resource officers they have now.

“We’re seeing more and more calls to the elementary schools, even more than the middle and high schools,” Johnson said.

Each high school and middle school have their own officer. The partnership is through the La Crosse Police Department.

Born in Decorah Iowa. I've been a news reporter for the last 10 years, starting right out of college in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Other professional opportunities led me to Marshalltown, Iowa and Antigo Wisconsin, before I finally was afforded the opportunity here in La Crosse. I've been here since 2016. I also act as the voice of local sports, doing play by play of high school and college football and basketball. When not working I enjoy golfing.

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