NOBLESVILLE, Ind. -- In a couple weeks, Noblesville students will head back to school with new safety changes in place. The increased security precautions come after the May 25 shooting. Investigators say a 13-year-old student, armed with two guns, opened fire in a classroom at Noblesville West Middle School. Teacher Jason Seaman and seventh grader Ella Whistler were injured.
“Out of all of tragedy, I think everyone really came together and really rallied the community,” explains Brandon Bogan, a Noblesville parent.
Starting on the first day of school, the Noblesville Police Department is doubling the number of school resource officers. There will be eight throughout the district. By late winter, the plan is to have 12. Students will be required to keep their backpacks in their lockers. Visitors must have an ID and will not be allowed into the hallways during passing periods.
“They’ve taken this very seriously and have done some pretty amazing things in a short period of time,” said Doug Carter, ISP Superintendent.
The school district will receive metal detector wands from the state by mid-August. The wands will be used for random screenings and when officials have "reasonable suspicion."
“It’s been needed, something to keep the kids safer,” explains Heather Pedigo, a Noblesville parent.
Portable classrooms are being removed from campuses. Officials will install door alarm systems. In some buildings, windows and doors will be hardened with bullet-resistant materials.
“I think it’s good to hear, they’re going through, they’re vetting everything out, they’re really studying each thing and trying to come up with the best actions to make sure our children are safe,” said Bogan, a Noblesville parent.
Administrators also stressed the importance of mental health. Staff will receive improved training to recognize issues. Officials are planning to hire at least one counselor as well as coordinating mentoring programs.
Administrators have a list of additional measures they want to implement if a school safety, mental health referendum passes in November.