INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.—The mother of an Arsenal Technical High School student who brought a gun to school says her son made a bad decision that could follow him the rest of his life.
“He should’ve never done it,” said the woman. “There’s a whole bunch of people up at that school that could’ve gotten hurt.”
IPS officials say Friday’s was the first gun-related arrest this year, but she and other parents say they’re certain many more students are carrying weapons at school.
Like her son, she believes many are looking for guns or knives to ward off attacks from other students, not to instigate them.
This fits a larger narrative across the city of growing teen gun possession and violence.
“I’m very concerned because he’s a teenager,” said the mother. “I’m very concerned about where and who he got it from.”
She thinks her son could have easily gotten a weapon from a classmate. She says she’s long been worried other teenagers are doing the same thing as her son, believing they need a way to protect themselves from dangerous bullies or violent gang members.
School officers will have a heightened presence at Tech all week because of the incident, which is standard IPS protocol after these situations.
But the teenagers’ mother says the school will need more than a one-week ramp up of security to combat the forces that compels students like her son to bring weapons to school.
Several parents said over the last couple years, the situation has grown worse at Tech. They all say what order and structure was there when their kids started has disintegrated, with the dress code and behavior issues weakly enforced compared to other schools.
She says she complained for nearly two years, as recently as the day before his arrest, about her continued concerns over bullying she says goes far beyond the norm at other schools.
“I tried to reach out before any of this,” she said. “I’ve talked to therapists, everybody, saying these situations are frustrating him and I’m scared about what’s going to happen.”
She said in a school that’s been in the news for large school fights and deals daily with other social issues, her worries were ignored.
“I know it’s been groups and administrators know about it, they’ve been told about it and I’ve brought it up myself, but it didn’t seem to hinder any of that,” she said. “It hasn’t stopped.”
IPS officials responded previously to the news about the arrest, saying student safety is the district’s first priority. Upon further questioning about the mother and other parents’ concerns about an abnormally unsafe atmosphere compared to other IPS high schools, an official indicated that it was a matter that would require further review.
The mother believes there will continue to be many more students carrying weapons for protection like her son, if the school doesn’t provide more counseling services, teachers and better enforcement of the code of conduct.