La Crosse schools provide mental health resources after bomb threat

LA CROSSE (WKBT) — The La Crosse School District is sharing mental health resources for its students following a bomb threat on Monday.

During a school board meeting on Dec. 6, students expressed fear about a rise in threats.

“With each student I see that is isolated and frustrated, I become more concerned with our school’s collective well being,” said student Porter Culp.

On Monday, those concerns became a reality. A safety plan was used to evacuate students from Central High School and relocate them to Longfellow Middle school.

“We’ve got an extensive safety plan and when we have an incident like this threat, we’re able to use that plan to guide our actions,” Superintendent Aaron Engel said.

The plan, which is confidential for the safety of students and staff, explains how to report a threat, take action if necessary, and provide recovery. Superintendent Engel said any fears and anxieties students may have are being addressed.

“We have brought in counselors from other buildings to ensure there are enough folks there,” Engel said.

Students believe the increase in threats is because of a lack of mental health resources during the pandemic.

“This has led to increased bullying, harassment, and disruptive activity during school hours,” Culp said.

The district is working on allocating its Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds to provide further mental health resources for students, Engel said. The district also received a $20,000 grant from Mayo Clinic Health System and will allocate the money toward more mental health programs.

“The final submission for the ESSER plans isn’t until March so it gives us some time to make those adjustments,” Engel said.

Students can reach out to teachers and other staff to discuss any concerns, the superintendent said. Students can also get referrals to Gundersen Health System if they require further counseling.

Students are encouraged to report threats using P3 portal, an anonymous reporting tool.

Recent News Headlines from News 8 Now  

Logan Middle cancels in-person classes Thursday and Friday for lack of staff

La Crosse County COVID contact tracers reach capacity 

Family shares mental health tragedy at Viterbo University to help others

Mayo Clinic fires 1% of staff due to COVID vaccine requirement