AASD School Board will elect new members


The AASD’s logo.

Sarah E. Fleming, Online/Advertising Editor

On April 2nd, 2019, the AASD will hold an election for two new additions to their school board. The Noctiluca was recently given the opportunity to ask the candidates a question during a forum hosted by The League of Women Voters of Appleton. The question was: “In recent years, school shootings across the nation have been on the rise. According to the Center for Homeland Defense and Security, in 2018 there were 97 school shootings, whereas in 2010, there were 15. Though we are only three months into the year, the nation has already seen 17 school shootings. In the Appleton Area School District, some safety measures have been put in place, such as adopting and practicing the ALICE active shooter response program. Appleton North recently added more security cameras, and limited entry points to the building, including locking exterior doors and requiring an ID check during school hours before entering the commons doors. North has also increased awareness programs about mental health and well-being of students, and is focusing on helping students feel connected and valued. Still, of all the school shootings since 1970, 700 out of 1,211, or over half, were carried out by current students of that school.
Given this, how would you continue to ensure safety in schools, as well as continue to focus on mental wellness?” According to the League of Women Voters of Appleton’s voter guide, the candidates responded as follows.

Deb Truyman: “I think you made a great connection between mental wellness and safety in schools. Earlierthis year AASD was awarded $767,207 in grants through the Wisconsin Department of Justice School Safety Grant program. This will be spent on building safety improvements, as well as training for faculty and staff. Many of these improvements are already in place. AASD staff also take part in multiple professional development initiatives supporting the mental health of our students. The next step is to provide resources such as
nurses, school counselors and psychologists to students and staff to identify potential students at risk. As a Board member I will work to help develop policies that address treating mental health issues early as this cost would be significantly less than waiting until someone has a crisis.”

Tim McKeag: “Appleton was in front of the rest of the state in that we had money put into our budget – via the last referendum- to have police officers at each High school; each Middle School; and a part time officer’s position in each Elementary school. We also have cameras, shatter proof glass, Alice- training if intruders are in the building and have been making the security stronger at each entry way. We feel – although not perfect-we have done a lot to.”

Jim Bowman: “Since we cannot predict what action a potential shooter might take, the district has taken a variety of measures to prevent injury or loss of life to students and staff. Those measures include:

  • Facility improvements like moving front offices to school entrances so staff can observe incoming persons. Other improvements include shatter-proof glass and additional security cameras.
  • ALICE training for staff that prepares them to respond if a shooter appears.
  • Relationship-building between staff, students and School Resource Officers.
  • Gun-free zones for schools and school grounds.
  • Emotional health awareness and training to prepare students and staff for the stress that comes with anticipation of a violent act. I endorse these actions and I want to add another item: student activism.

At Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, 14 students and three school staff were killed by an expelled student. In the wake of the shooting, students and student groups have organized to influence lawmakers on ways to reduce gun violence.”

To read the candidate’s responses to other questions, including questions asked by Appleton East’s Courier and Appleton West’s Talisman, click here.