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School Safety

School resource officers are an option to improve school safety. (PBS)

Noon Edition airs on Fridays at noon on WFIU.

Students across the state are making their way back to the classroom. While kids may be focused on friends and grades, school administrators are faced with a heightened challenge of keeping their students safe.

The Pew Research Center finds that more than half of American teenagers fear that a shooting will happen at their school.

With the recent Noblesville West Middle School shooting, it’s a topic on the minds of many Hoosiers. How will schools, government, and law enforcement officials protect innocent learners?

We discuss these questions and more as we look at school safety on this week’s Noon Edition.

Guests

Adam Baker, Press Secretary at the Indiana Department of Education

Keith Gambill, Vice President of the Indiana State Teachers Association

Julie M. Slavens, Staff Attorney for the Indiana School Boards Association

Conversation on School Safety

Adam Baker says that school safety is a top priority for the Indiana Department of Education and that they’re about to release a report.

“I think that one of the biggest things you’re going to see in the next few weeks is the school safety report that our self, along with DHS, FSSA, the Criminal Justice Institute, as well as various other organizations and agencies have been working on to provide recommendations to the Governor,” Baker says.

Keith Gambill says that it’s imperative for schools to remain good learning environments and not turn into fortified facilities.

“There are some things with securing the buildings — we certainly want to make sure we’re taking every action we can,” Gambill says. “But we also, at the same time, want to make sure that those facilities remain a welcoming environment and a nurturing environment for the students.”

Gambill says that local school boards should be able to implement the policies and strategies that best fit their schools.

Julie Slavens worries about potential misuse of metal detectors and profiling students by conducting “administrative searches.”

“That has to be done on a random basis. You know, it can’t be every kid or you can’t pick out a kid just because you think – you still have to have the reasonable suspicion,” Slavens says.​

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