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Wisconsin Dept. Justice organizing teams to help with critical incidents at schools, including shootings

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FILE - Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw walks along the street outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 30, 2022. Nineteen children and two teachers were killed by an 18-year-old gunman at the school last week. As public pressure mounts for more information on the deadly Uvalde school shooting, some are concerned that Texas officials will use a legal loophole to block records from being released — even to the victims' families — once the case is closed. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Department of Justice is creating 12 regional teams to support schools around the state deal with critical incidents such as shootings.

Team members include law enforcement members, school administrators, counselors, social workers, nurses, teachers and others. The teams are currently being trained on how to minimize the psychological impact of school-related critical incidents, identify people in need of long-term mental health support and how best to help school employees.

“We must take a comprehensive approach to school safety,” Attorney General Josh Kaul said in a statement. “By creating regional Critical Incident Response Teams for schools across Wisconsin, our Office of School Safety and the partners participating in this program will ensure that resources and support are available if a critical incident takes place at any Wisconsin school.”

DOJ’s Office of School Safety circulated the idea of creating the 12 teams two years ago.

The initiative in Wisconsin comes to fruition as U.S. senators work to finalize details of a gun violence legislation in time for their self-imposed deadline for holding votes in Congress next week.

The gun control advocacy organization Everytown for Gun Safety said there have been 96 gun incidents at schools nationwide this year, resulting in 40 deaths and 78 injuries.

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