After rumors of a mass shooting planned at Carmel High School led many students to stay home Feb. 16, police have increased their presence on campus to provide additional safety for the staff and students who chose to attend classes.
Carmel Clay Schools spokeswoman Courtney Taylor said classes were “going smoothly” Feb. 16. She said she didn’t know how many students skipped school because of the rumors but confirmed that attendance was lower than on a typical day. She said an increased number of police officers were present in the building, especially during lunch time.
“We offer Carmel police officers the opportunity on any normal day to enjoy lunch with the students,” Taylor said. “A lot of them decided to take that offer up today.”
The rumors of a school shooting began circulating the morning of Feb. 14 when students texted each other about a number of unusual incidents that happened at CHS the previous week, including a male student threatening a female student with a knife and fights on campus. The text thread mentioned hoping a school shooting was not next but then stated if there was one it would be at a Friday convocation.
School officials and police investigated and determined no threat was actually made and no Friday convocation had been scheduled.
Tensions increased when later in the day Feb. 14 a school shooting in Florida left 17 people dead. Also that day in a separate incident a CHS student used Snapchat to show images of ammunition believed to be at his home, adding to the concerns.
CPD Police Chief Jim Barlow confirmed Feb. 16 that officers had not found any evidence of a true threat at CHS.
“Every ‘incident’ has been thoroughly investigated,” he stated in an email. “There is still no credible information that an active shooter situation is imminent at Carmel High School.”
The City of Carmel has no direct authority over the school system, but it partners with CCS through its nationally-recognized School Resource Officers program. Four officers are assigned to CHS at all times with three officers covering the three middle schools.
City of Carmel Spokesman Dan McFeely said that Carmel joined other Hamilton County schools to become the first in the state to implement a new method of training educators on how to proactively respond to active shooting incidents.
Parents can learn more about the response methods at fema.gov/media-library-data/1472672897352-d28bb197db5389e4ddedcef335d3d867/FEMA_ActiveShooter_OnePagerv1d15_508_FINAL.pdf.