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Intentional and proactive: How one local school district is tackling youth crime

Posted at 5:24 PM, Sep 29, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-29 18:24:31-04
  • Fond du Lac school district works with the Fond du Lac Police Department to keep young people safe.
  • School resource officers provide proactive support for students at all grade levels.
  • Juvenile arrests have not gone up significantly in the past five years.

When a crime happens in Fond du Lac involving young people, like a shooting in May that is currently playing out in the courts, it can be alarming to many.
The Fond du Lac School District and Fond du Lac Police Department are looking to keep children safe from crime.

Officer Keywon Brown has worked as a school resource officer at the high school, middle school, and elementary school level.

“My main job is to ensure the safety of the students, the staff, while also building relationships with our students,” Brown said,

He said that building those relationships is vital in preventing any conflict before it happens.

“[It’s] being positive and being there and available for them, joking with them; but sometimes we may have to go into something a little serious where perhaps there's some different behaviors that are going on that are happening, where I might want to ensure that I intervene with them,” Brown said.

But Brown said in his personal experience those serious issues are not very common.

“We don't necessarily get to a ton of incidents per se. I like to be intentional on being proactive, talking to them, and intervening before,” Brown said.

Fond du Lac Chief of Schools Matt Steinbarth said setting high expectations early on is one way to motivate students.

“[It’s} letting them know that at the end of the day, there's a lot of people at the school that care about them and want them to be safe and making great choices, but that we also have very high expectations for them,” Steinbarth said.

While major tragedies make headlines, in the past five years, according to data from the Fond du Lac Police Department, arrests of young people by the Fond du Lac police department have fluctuated year-by-year, but the city did not see a significant increase in 2022 compared to 2017.

Steinbarth said the problem may seem worse than it is because of social media.

“Everything that happens in this community is shared so much quicker due to social media,” Steinbarth said.

But when incidents do happen, Steinbarth says the school tries to do everything they can to support students… including reentry plans and talking about future goals.