Emily Crapnell was teaching seventh grade science to a classroom full of students at Noblesville West Middle School on May 25, 2018, when she heard a gunshot behind her. Crapnell’s classroom was next to teacher Jason Seaman’s classroom where a student fired a handgun, injuring a student and Seaman in the process.
Now, whenever Crapnell sees a mass school shooting on the news, such as in Uvalde, Texas, where a shooter killed 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School, Crapnell gets emotional.
“I get triggered by it obviously because of my experience, but I also feel like an overwhelming sense of just becoming numb to it,” said Crapnell, who resigned from teaching the following year to care for her daughter, who is now 3 1/2. “I feel like we, as a society, have started to become numb because we are always hearing about it. This is the newest shooting, and then it’s just a matter of time until there’s another one just as horrific. We parents, teachers, feel powerless.”
Crapnell, a Noblesville resident, applauds Noblesville Schools’ efforts in establishing safety measures for students.
“I would feel safe sending (my daughter) to school because being a teacher, I know who these teachers are and how much love and care they put into their career,” she said. “School itself is a safe place. From my perspective, it’s the access to guns and gun control that is making any place not safe, whether it’s schools or the grocery store. It’s sad to me that people are scared to go to school because school should be this happy, loving place where everyone should feel safe all the time. But our reality is, maybe nowhere is safe as anybody can buy a gun and do whatever with it.”
Crapnell said she was grateful for her training as a teacher with Noblesville Schools because when the shooting happened, she and her students were prepared.
“We did have a plan, so I’m grateful for that training,” she said.
Noblesville Schools passed a referendum in November 2018 six months after the Noblesville West Middle School shooting. The referendum led to extensive safety and security upgrades at the school, totaling $1.75 million of the referendum. Increased safety measures included enhancing security cameras and emergency communications systems, installing Stop the Bleed kits in all buildings and establishing a safety dog/handler program. Safety dogs can identify guns and narcotics.
A statement from Noblesville Schools said most of the safety initiatives are districtwide.
“All visitors, including parents and community members, must request access through our outdoor intercom systems, including providing a photo ID. Any school visitors interacting with students are required to have a comprehensive national background check on file that will include monitoring through our Arrest Alert system. This includes parents participating in field trips or field day activities, volunteering in the classroom, attending classroom parties or joining their child for lunch, or anytime there is interaction with students other than their own.”
All Noblesville schools complete a safety drill for an active shooter response each year. The drill uses the ALICE model, or alert, lockdown, inform, counter, evacuate.
“The ALICE model is recommended by top school safety experts as the best approach to incidents of violence and was integral to a positive outcome during our 2018 school shooting,” the statement read. “The Indiana state law requires drills 2 times per year but Noblesville Schools chooses to do these 4 times a year due to the importance of the drills. These drills look different at each developmental level. The staff at Noblesville Schools are aware that these drills can trigger physical or emotional responses in students and staff members have been trained to look out for the mental health safety of our students when conducting these drills.”
The referendum also tripled the district’s school resource officer coverage, leading to 12 Noblesville Police Dept. SROs working full time in each of the district’s schools and at after-school events.
“In addition to the many measures noted in the (referendum list), Noblesville Schools use barricading devices on all doors, enhanced safety communication tools, mental health interventions and safety dogs as other layers of prevention and detection in our overall safety plan,” the statement read. “We have metal detection wands from the state that can be used as needed. We also use a comprehensive safety assessment team and planning to best identify, investigate and address potential threats. All new employees to Noblesville Schools are required to go through ALICE training upon onboarding at Noblesville Schools.
“Safety is an ongoing process and we are always learning new best practices and improving our safety plans.”
For a full list of safety initiatives, visitnoblesvilleschools.org/site/default.aspx?PageType=3&DomainID=4&ModuleInstanceID=70&ViewID=6446EE88-D30C-497E-9316-3F8874B3E108&RenderLoc=0&FlexDataID=21754&PageID=1.