By Anna Skinner
On Oct. 25, representatives from education, public safety and Congress attended a school safety roundtable at Hamilton Southeastern High School in Fishers. U.S. Reps. Susan W. Brooks and Luke Messer hosted the event.
Afterward, members of the media were invited for closing remarks and a press conference.
Brooks said one of the biggest topics of discussion were school resource officers.
“HSE implements something called text-a-tip, a communication tool for students to report anonymously or not some issues that they might be concerned about whether a student is contemplating suicide or aware of drugs on campus,” Brooks said. “School resource officers are positions of trust with students, just like teachers. They become part of the fabric of the schools. That is how they often get a lot of tips, and because of some incredible law enforcement efforts in Lawrence Schools last week, drugs were confiscated. They (drugs) are still in our schools. It’s still a problem.”
Mental health issues, ways of keeping potential predators and criminals out of buildings and other security issues also were discussed.
“School security challenges everything from dealing with drug overdoses to natural disasters to violence perpetrated by a student to terrorist attacks,” Messer said. “It’s a broad range of challenges and exciting to hear how Indiana is dealing with it. We can do more to physically serve the (school) facilities and make sure there is an alert system within the school so it is more difficult for someone to get in if they have bad intentions, and also make sure we have training and school resource officers on site.”
Representatives from Secure Schools Alliance, Fishers Police Dept., Indiana Dept. of Homeland Security, Indiana State Police, Indiana Sheriffs’ Association, Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, Southwestern Consolidated School District of Shelby County, Our Kids Deserve It, Stanley Security, Carmel Clay Schools, Metropolitan School District of Lawrence Township, Allegion, Zionsville Town Council, Johnson Controls, Hamilton Southeastern Schools and Fanning Howey attended the roundtable discussion.
“We have a pretty good model here in Indiana with school safety academy, and if we can get that sort of leadership at the federal level, that could work on school safety programs by hardening the target with physical changes to the building to make it harder to get in and do damage,” said Dr. Michael Beresford, assistant superintendent of staff and students.
“We spend a lot of time traveling around and saying, ‘See something, say something,” Indiana State Police Supt. Doug Carter said. “We are asking every community in Indiana to do that. Somebody generally speaking knows something about the individual about to commit the crime. It’s important you communicate with us and communicate with the school corporation. I suggest we all come together as one in an effort to try to do the right thing.”