School safety experts speak on importance of student tips

Officials talk about how to keep guns out of schools
Published: Feb. 9, 2023 at 6:15 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 9, 2023 at 6:31 PM CST
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NEENAH, Wis. (WBAY) - Two guns reported inside Northeast Wisconsin schools... one in Oshkosh, the other in Neenah.

The Communications Director for the Neenah Joint School District told our reporter that there’s an extra police presence both inside and outside today - after a tip came in on Tuesday about a gun in the school.

And in Oshkosh, officers found another gun thanks to a student’s report Monday. That gun was located inside a home.

Barbara Dorff, School Security Assessor from the Wisconsin School Safety Coordinators Association (WSSCA), explains: “They should be really happy that someone came forward. That students are listening to the message and they are coming forward. They are saying something.”

Barbara Dorff works on school security assessments across Northeast Wisconsin. She says that culture and comfort are key to maintaining a safe environment: “Are students developing relationships with an important adult so that if something were to come to their attention that something bad might happen to the school, that they might be willing to tell that trusted adult?”

Attorney General Josh Kaul (D-Wisconsin) adds: “Having a climate where students are encouraged to report and that reporting is happening as we’re seeing with some of these recent incidents–that’s a positive sign. It means students are taking action and doing what they need to do to keep their schools safe.”

The Department of Justice’s Office of School Safety trains educators and law enforcement to respond to security concerns - that training includes threat assessment protocol. Josh Kaul: “That sounds a little scary but what it really is is distinguishing something that might come up typically in a class and isn’t really a danger to somebody’s safety to something that does pose a risk to someone’s safety… a student improperly having access to firearms for example.”

School safety experts say they’re seeing more readiness in students to report potentially dangerous situations.

Barbara Dorff observes: “Tips are coming in. Tips have come in that have saved schools from what could have been a very serious situation so we’re seeing more of a willingness from students to speak up and speak out.”

Speak up - speak out. It’s an app, and website, making it easy for students or community members to report unsafe situations in their schools.

We have a link to learn more at

Twice this week police investigated guns brought to school, in Oshkosh and Neenah. Why security efforts could get more difficult at the end of the year.