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AV-W Elementary tables LawDogs proposal

February 14, 2020 by Kayla Houp

The Arbor Vitae-Woodruff Elementary School tabled a discussion on Monday regarding partnering with LawDogs Tactical for additional security on campus pending additional information and determining the need.
According to district administrator Jocelyn Smith, the board had begun looking into pairing with other local schools to share a student resource officer last August, and had also been talking to the Vilas County Sheriff’s Office to “share part of the percentage of an officer.”
“So, we would have an officer work between the schools through the school year, then they would be on the Vilas County law enforcement team during the summer for increased tourism,” Smith said. 
However, due to timing constraints, Smith said the board hadn’t had enough information to make a decision.
While the board intends to follow up with that, Smith said in the meantime, there had been conversations with Vilas County sheriff’s deputy Ty Peterson, who also manages LawDogs Tactical.
“Which we’ve used before for tactical training and safety updates and safety upgrades,” Smith said. “He’s been talking with the local shools about a possible pairing with his company, that he’s calling LawDogs Tactical ... and they’re trying to pilot some support for schools with a security guard or an armed officer on campus.”
Smith further explained before the board could move forward, there needed to be questions asked of the district’s insurance company and its attorneys on how having an armed security officer would look for the district, as well as rules and regulations with the Department of Public Instruction and the Department of Justice.
“There really needs to be some more information brought forth on that,” Smith said.

Protecting the kids
While nobody on the board disagreed with the importance of student safety, concerns regarding policy and regulation prompted the board to table the discussion pending further questions into whether the district was “at that stage” of needing a student resource officer.
“I know the need, and I think that comes down to how much of a need do we really think that this is for us right now,” board president Jack Jurries said. “Don’t get me wrong, I always want to make sure we protect the kids, but yet, are we at that stage yet as a school? I don’t know.”
Jurries said he’d like to take more time with the information and have more discussion before moving forward.
“I don’t see a burning immediate need,” board member Judith Nelson said. 
“At least the options are out there so we can get a better idea of what’s coming in the future, how it would all lay out, too, finding out more about the requirements and how that plays into what they can and cannot do within the school,” Jurries said.
Jurries said there was a lot to talk about and more information to gather about insurance and policy.
“In the future, this may be the way things go, but for right now, I think we need to table this for a little bit,” Jurries said.
Smith added there had been federal funds for school safety the district had applied for.
“Unfortunately, as time goes on and school safety continues to be at the forefront of our conversations, that there will be some different ways to fund those types of positions if that’s the direction that the board decides to move in,” Smith said.

Other items
The board Monday:
• Approved a motion establishing a full-time Spanish teacher position at the elementary school.
“If we could afford and move forward with a full-time position, he or she could teach, we could offer Spanish to all the grade levels,” Smith said. “That’s something we’ve never even had the luxury of talking about, financially this would be the opportunity to do it.”
“It was part of the referendum,” Jurries said. “We were talking about different things that we would do with the money from the referendum and Spanish teacher was on the list. I’m not opposed to it, because we got to stay true to our word.”
Smith said she would provide the board with an update on applicants in March.
• Approved a service contract with the Lakeland Area Bus Service.
Kayla Houp may be reached via email at [email protected].

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