An open records request to the Green Bay Area Public School District showed that there have been 10 arrests made for weapons at schools during the past school year, but not all of the incidents may have involved students.
Some incidents may be logged into the database if it happened near the school or on school grounds. A police officer might use the school’s address as the closest location when citing a crime.
“If I were to pull a vehicle over in front of West High School, the dispatcher would enter that address as 966 Shawano Avenue, which is the address of West High School,” Lt. Jeffrey Brester with the Green Bay Police Department explained. “Now during that traffic stop, if I were to recover a weapon out of that vehicle, it would be on this list as a weapons-related offense on school grounds, but it was never really associated to the school.”
Lt. Brester says 95% of the incidents in the open records request does involve students, but the non-student incidents get mixed in as well, where a crime coincidentally happened near school grounds.
The records go back to September 2014, and shows there were 31 weapons-related arrests overall at a few of the 36 schools in the GBAPS district.
In the 2016 to 2017 school year, three weapons-related arrests have Washington Middle School cited as the location.
The GBAPS school district did not want to do an interview for this story, but said no guns were brought to any district schools in the past year. There were 8 knives brought to district schools during the 2015 to 2016 school year.
The district also has a “See It, Tell It” policy, which encourages students to say something to a teacher or resource officer if they see another student with a weapon or anything suspicious.
Lt. Brester said officers usually find knives or BB guns in some students’ backpacks, but not usually during altercations.
“A majority of times what happens is a student’s in some type of disturbance or gets in trouble in class and is brought down to the office, and the officer ends up searching the backpack, or searching the coat pockets and there’s a folding knife or something in there and so we end up writing a citation for that,” he said. “So technically it is a weapon offense, but I don’t recall when somebody actually used a weapon to go after anybody.”
One officer was hurt on the job at Washington Middle School in February when a special needs student became uncontrollable, and left that officer with minor injuries.
This year, some Green Bay police officers are receiving mental health training, to learn how to handle situations out in public and in schools.
“So if we are dealing with a young student and we know that it calms him down, when you talk about a certain subject they’ll have that on their file, so they know that when they go to deal with him, they know what to talk to him about, and not to hit the trigger points that are going to get him or her more upset,” Lt. Brester said.
The Green Bay Police Department will have a meeting with the Green Bay Area Public School District next week to discuss policies and the upcoming school year.