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School safety: Oak Creek teachers learn self-defense, students using new app

Posted at 5:17 PM, Feb 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-26 19:12:55-05

Following a shooting tragedy in Parkland, Florida that killed 17 people, one local school district is hoping its unique safety strategies will ease some of the concerns on parent's minds.

The Oak Creek-Franklin School District has a variety of methods to keep students safe in school, some more common like lockdown drills and secure entrances, but other methods like self-defense training for staff and an anonymous reporting app aren't as widely used.

Assistant Superintendent Daniel Unertl wrote a blog post last week for parents and students that detailed the various safety strategies in the district.

For example, there are advanced safety kits found in every school that are similar to what you would find in a tactical response vehicle. They include items like tourniquets, gauze, scissors and a blood clotting agent.

"Things you would need in a critical crisis to render life saving aid," said Unertl.

For several years, the district has also put all of its staff through self-defense and martial arts training through a local organization called Peaceful Warrior Training Group.

The instructors are retired police officers and firefighters who have experienced active shooter situations first hand.

"They'll customize it for our buildings and grounds team or our front office folks," said Unertl.

The newest addition to district safety is an app called STOPit. Students were set up with the app this year and can anonymously report suspicious or dangerous behavior directly to their principal.

"We’ve used it quite a bit so far this school year," said Unertl. "It’s easy to use, it’s an example of meeting kids where they’re at."

District Superintendent Tim Culver says he doesn't think they are more or less proactive than any other district in the area, but he emphasized their relationship with local police and fire as a major strength.

"It’s a sad commentary that we have to do this at all," said Culver. "The realization is, to keep kids as safe as possible and create as little harm as possible, you have to do these things."

Anonymous reporting apps like STOPit are becoming more common in schools. Districts in Wisconsin Rapids and Appleton both use the same app as the one in Oak Creek.