GREENFIELD, Ind. – The Greenfield-Central Community School Corporation has an ever-evolving school safety plan that was created in 2011.
In the last seven years, updates have been made and many were the result of monthly county-wide school safety meetings that are hosted at Greenfield-Central High School.
The district itself is responsible for 4,500 students at 8 different schools. Since the Noblesville West Middle School shooting, the district has added an additional school resource officer, made upgrades to surveillance systems, visited other schools deemed more secure, and hosted an Active Shooter Training in late September.
RTV6 was on-hand as those shots rang out inside the hallways of Greenfield-Central High School. The training, conducted by Major Brad Burkhardt of the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department, is about as close as one can get to the real thing.
“The thinking used to be that it would never happen here, and nobody thinks that way anymore," Principal Jason Cary said.
Cary says it has been roughly 10 years since their last active shooter training, and teachers and staff are learning things he says, educators don’t think about.
“Teachers are wired to think as teachers, they're not wired to think as police officers,” Cary said. “So a lot of the things the staff are learning today are just things that they normally wouldn't think about. You know, little things that you can do in your classroom to keep it safer, or things that you can do just as far as classroom management things in general. Having the kids there, what does that process look like? And conversations you can have with the kids, just trying to let them know that it’s something, especially with some of the recent events locally here in the last year, that it’s something that we take very seriously."
They’ve implemented the drills with students as well. Cary says some people in the community find that concerning.
Cary says they try to remain as transparent as possible when it comes to safety and they rely heavily on School Resource Officers, who may hear or see things others might not. That’s why they are adding more.
“We started out with two, and I know that given funding and everything going on locally, I think it was always the plan to increase that as we could. So when the funding became available, and the manpower became available, we really wanted to make sure that we had not just the schools in town covered, but places out north like Maxwell and Eden. We were really worried about the response time for some of those places there are a few minutes outside of town,” says Cary.
However, no matter how many locks are on doors, or cameras are watching, Cary says communication is what’s key, and he’s glad parents, students, and staff are speaking up about school safety.
“You know, when we talk about school safety, nobody’s against school safety. We are very proactive. Our thinking is that if we are proactive, it puts people’s minds a little bit at ease. So we want to make sure that we’ve done everything we can to make them be successful if something were to happen. But certainly, making sure that we’re doing our part, because if the kids don’t feel safe here, then they’re not going to perform and they’re not going to want to be here.”
Greenfield-Central Community School Corporation is one of 370 school entities that requested handheld metal detectors from Governor Eric Holcomb and the Indiana Department of Administration. The program makes one metal detector available for every 250 students in a school building. So far the program has cost more than $330,000. It is funded by the Department of Administration.
The request was made around the same time a number of parents formed the group “GC Parents on a Mission.” The group has hosted a gun safety seminar, and will continue to lobby for safer schools through the addition of metal detectors and other safety measures.
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