On December 15, 2016, members of Generations Against Bullying (GAB) had the special opportunity to take a personal tour of the Wisconsin headquarters of the FBI, a building that doesn’t give tours on a regular basis.
The group was able to tour the building due to the connections of GAB’s Executive Director, Linda Lee. Lee had met Public Affairs Specialist of Wisconsin’s division of the FBI, Leonard Peace, at an event where her GAB booth and his FBI booth were set up next to each other.
Lee had also participated in the FBI’s Citizens Academy, a program that gives citizens a closer look at the on goings of the FBI and the opportunity to shoot guns and participate in other activities and lessons about the inner workings or the FBI.
The Greendale students also had the pleasure of being accompanied by Lucas Smith, a GAB Peer Ambassador from Manitowoc, who was presented with the Wisconsin Hero’s Award for all the advocating he does for GAB.
“It was nice sharing the experience with the hero of the year and I’m glad I got to know him because he showed that no matter how young you are you can still achieve great things”
When the group arrived in St. Francis, each student was given a visitor badge and asked to go through a security building to check their personal belongings. Per FBI regulations, no cell phones were allowed in the building. After passing through security, the group walked a short distance to the official building and official began their trip.
The first activity for the students was a presentation about social media and its lasting effects. Students talked about the different types of social media and watched videos about the dangers of sending and posting pictures they wouldn’t want all over the internet.
For many students, their favorite part of the entire trip was when an FBI Agent and a Consultant walked the students through the process of tracking someone down based on their IP address and simulating finding someone who sold a fake iPad over eBay.
Fellow Peer Ambassador Tess agrees;
“The most interesting thing was when they did a mini investigation simulation because you were able to see how they track people down using computer information, such as an IP address”
After the presentation, the group traveled to the Gun Vault where they were educated on the different types of guns and the requirements FBI agents have regarding weapons. From there, the group was guided to the operations room where they got a glimpse of the computer setup and all the people constantly monitoring activity.
One thing that surprised many students was that FBI workers stay in the operations room through all scenarios, and because of this the room is made safe for all types of severe weather.
The students then moved upstairs to the building’s main meeting room. The room was filled with a large conference table and a screen on which the Director of the FBI in Washington DC appears during his weekly check-ins and any time there is a need for his presence.
After learning more about the specific things the FBI specializes in while looking through a huge picture window with a beautiful view of Lake Michigan, the group walked across the hall to look at some historic artifacts of the FBI in a mini museum.
Seeing these artifacts was Sheridan’s favorite part.
“My favorite part was the history part of the FBI, the mini museum. It was just so interesting to see the history along with what the FBI agent was saying”
A question that came up multiple times concerned the education needed to work for the FBI. Boston thought the answer was very interesting.
“I think it’s cool that you can become an agent no matter what. It doesn’t matter what you studied. It’s based off hard work and intelligence”
For AFS student Mohsin Khan, learning about the FBI was particularly fascinating.
“I came to know for the first time that the FBI is independent. They deal with all sorts of crimes”
To conclude the tour, each student received an FBI hat and the group took a picture in front of a huge FBI seal on the wall.
Principal Steve Lodes accompanied the trip and believes it was very beneficial.
“I think the students were exposed to not only some good information regarding cyber-bullying, but also to the career pathways that exist in the Department of Justice and the FBI,”
“For me the most interesting part was the glimpse we were able to get of a working FBI branch and to hear about the variety of backgrounds and education all of the agents have.”
“Something I didn’t know and learned today is that there are individual FBI sites operating across the nation at all times no matter what,”
Lodes also believes the students who went on the trip represented GHS very well.
“They were attentive, inquisitive, and fun,”
Overall, the trip was a great, once in a lifetime learning experience for both the students and adults who went.