SHELBYVILLE, Ind. -- This summer, the Shelbyville Central Schools district completed one of their largest active shooter trainings before the start of this school year, even using actual students, the Shelbyville police department, the fire department, the sheriff’s office and emergency management for the drill.
Their goal was to make this the most real active shooter situation they could. They tested all of their security measures in place, from assessing their radio communication and response times to making sure all cameras throughout the school work and all entries are secure.
“We also have like panic buttons that we put into place, where kind of like a bank teller, you hit that button and we test those,” said Andy Hensley, the district safety specialist, describing its school safety plan.
It’s a plan that makes parents like Sandi Fitzgerald feel her kids are safe.
"You hope that there’s never an active shooter situation at the schools where your kids attend but you want them to be prepared if something like that does happen,” Fitzgerald said.
Aside from this training, the mother of two elementary students and a former teacher herself says she appreciates school resource officers’ presence throughout the campus.
"You want them to feel like that is who they can trust,” she said. “You want them to feel like they’re there to help us and keep us safe and it should be a positive role model. And it’s great when they’re at sporting events and they’re in the school buildings interacting with the kids."
One idea, however, that's been discussed recently she doesn't like is arming teachers.
"I don’t know if that’s the safest way about it," Fitzgerald said. "A concealed weapon isn’t always concealed and I’m just afraid if you have kids that know those whereabouts, there are so many other things that teachers need to worry about in the classroom and I just feel that putting something like that in their possession is just more stress and that’s not their job to protect the students in that way.”
The district would not reveal what its stance is on arming teachers, but confirms to RTV6 it did opt in to Governor Eric Holcomb's program to provide handheld metal detectors to Indiana schools that wanted them.
Hensley says they review their plans frequently throughout the school year and update as necessary.
Fitzgerald gave an example of this review, saying, “at my sons' school, the principal is meeting with parents quarterly and I know that next quarter it’s about school safety. They want to just have a conversation, just a casual sit down with coffee and this is what’s going on and answer a lot of our questions and ideas and just kind of get some feedback from parents just so they’re in the know.”
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