In the past year, the Stoughton Area School District has received more than $275,000 in funding from the Wisconsin Department of Justice to improve security at its schools and buildings.

This week, those improvements and the district’s overall safety and security plans, were put to the test during annual training drills. Parents and staff were alerted last week to the dates of the drills, though not the times, district superintendent Tim Onsager said at Monday night’s School Board meeting.

“Today was Kegonsa (Elementary) and River Bluff (Middle School), and from everything I heard they went well,” he said. “(Tuesday) is Sandhill (Elementary) and Fox Prairie (Elementary) and the high school are Wednesday.”

Families were also notified when the drills were over, he said, adding that it’s the same as the drills held in November.

Those were part of the DOJ grant program, which requires an annual active shooter/violence/threat drill at each school. The program was started last year by the Wisconsin Legislature, which made $100 million in grants available for schools to improve safety measures through efforts to “prepare for, respond to, or recover from violence” in the wake of the mass shooting in Parkland, Fla.

In July, the district was awarded a $109,285 DOJ grant, and it got another $168,391 in October. The vast majority was for acquisition and installation of security cameras to cover the interior of all five of its schools, with a small portion of the money slated to outfit entryway vestibule windows with shatterproof film, district officials said.

It’s the latest round of security improvements in the district, which started with the 2014 referendum that included a variety of security measures in district buildings. More recently, the district has been locking doors during the school day, and in fall 2016, it implemented an online visitor management system that completes a sex offender background check.

Onsager told board members the drills are helpful.

“After … we always debrief and we always learn from these drills and move on,” he said.

Email Unified Newspaper Group reporter Scott De Laruelle at