School safety conversation draws crowd in Fishers in wake of Noblesville school shooting

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FISHERS, Ind. - The Hamilton County community came together for a conversation on school safety in the wake of a school shooting in Noblesville.

Police said a student opened fire in a classroom at Noblesville West Middle School, hitting a classmate and teacher on Friday.

In the wake of the shooting, the mayor of Fishers said they received an outpouring of residents with comments, questions and concerns about the safety of their kids. So Wednesday night, they held a forum on school and student safety at Hamilton Southeastern High School.

"It's really safe because there are like thousands of teachers," Luke Bruce, 7, said.

He said he feels protected at his Hamilton Southeastern school, but safety is something even he thinks about despite being only in elementary school.

"I think that we are really safe here, but I also want to hear what the vision is going forward because obviously with recent events it hits really close to home," Luke's mom and a teacher in the district, Katie Gelhir, said.

She was one in a packed auditorium of residents, parents, police, students and educators.

"We realized you know we need to step up the conversation about this and really hit it head on," Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness said.

The district said measures already being used include mental health initiatives, detailed plans and regular training for active shooter scenarios. The superintendent said they're also in the process of expanding the number of school resource officers over the long term.

"As we go through we are talking about creating perhaps a permanent, a long lasting advisory council perhaps of parents. We don't have that right now though we have advisory councils, not one dedicated to school safety," HSE Superintendent Dr. Allen Bourff said.

Bourff said they're also listening to what else might be needed and questions and comments about the future. Those included everything from metal detectors and clear backpacks, to training with kids, securing guns, social media and the funding to make it all happen.

Funding is something some state lawmakers have an eye on, too.

"We have to consider more funding for school security throughout the whole state and schools have to be locked down and they have to be so no one can get in them, and when students or anybody else is walking into them..they're going to have to walk through a metal detector," State Sen. Jim Merritt said.

A spokesperson for the Indiana Department of Education said IDOE, DHS, ISP and FSSA are working on recommendations to give to the governor. The spokesperson said IDOE will also try to see if it can get money geared towards mental health support in schools next legislative session.

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