SPPCS gets security grant

Ss. Peter & Paul Catholic School in Waterloo recently received a $120,000 grant to be put toward various improvements to security on campus.

SPPCS was one of 116 organizations to receive funds from the Illinois Nonprofit Security Grant Program, which awarded a total of $20 million.

SPPCS Principal Lori Matzenbacher said the school recently had a walkthrough conducted by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department to get a better idea of campus security.

One concern noted in that walk-through was the presence of several blindspots in and out of the building, which Matzenbacher said would be rectified with the addition of several cameras.

The fence surrounding the school parking lot and play area was also noted. According to Matzenbacher, it currently stands at about three feet tall. Funds from the NSGP would be used to increase that to six feet.

“We’re hoping that will just be an additional protection for the students while they’re outside on the playground,” Matzenbacher said. “Being surrounded by roadways, our entire playground, we wanna make sure that it’s as secure as possible.”

The other big addition planned is a campus-wide security alert system.

“That way if there is an intruder or an emergency situation, this alarm system sounds all throughout our campus,” Matzenbacher said.

When asked about the use of funds from the most recent Queen of Hearts drawing, Matzenbacher said that money is being but toward other projects at the school while the security concerns are addressed using the NSGP funds.

SPPCS was the only recipient of NSGP funding in Monroe County, with many other recipients located in Chicago and Northern Illinois.

In a recently shared press release listing the recipients, Gov. JB Pritzker spoke to his goal of keeping Illinoisans safe.

“This $20 million investment will provide grantees – from mosques and synagogues to education centers and cultural institutions – the resources they need to enhance safety measures amidst the rising tide of extremism,” Pritzker said. “From Skokie to Peoria, Illinoisans deserve to be able to congregate safely with their communities, and that’s exactly what the Nonprofit Security Grant Program achieves.”

School safety is especially pertinent given Monday’s tragedy in Nashville, Tenn., where a former student at Nashville Christian school entered the facility and proceeded to kill three young students and three staff members before being shot by responding officers.

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Andrew Unverferth

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