Letter: Referendum will ensure school safety

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Editor,

Although I’m the parent of four Carmel school children, in May 2018 we lived in Noblesville, where two middle school sons were involved in a school shooting. I can tell you that was the worst day, but it’s not just “one day.” We still experience the long-term effects of the terror of that day.

We had already sold our home in Noblesville and moved five days after the shooting. We chose to move back to Carmel to take advantage of all the city has to offer, primarily the schools. Our recent experience prompted us to wonder how Carmel schools maintain safety and security at our children’s new schools. We were pleased to learn Carmel High School has four full-time school resource officers for the very large school population. However, the middle schools do not have designated full-time SROs because they are shared with the elementary schools, leaving the middle schools very vulnerable. That leaves three SROs for 13 schools. This is a gap our district needs to address.

All schools need to have full-time SROs. If it were not for the quick heroic acts of a teacher, SRO and school nurse, the boy who said he came to my sons’ school with firearms “to kill as many people as possible” would have been successful.

If we can come together as a community, this referendum will fund hiring SROs for each school, allow us to increase the current salaries of current school counselors and social workers (to be on par with surrounding areas), to hire additional licensed mental health professionals so we have one in each school and provide ongoing safety training and professional development for students and staff.

I will be voting “yes” to Question 1, the referendum on the ballot this November. I never want to receive another call from my son telling me he’s running in a field from a school shooter. I never want to get another call from the teacher saying she is riding in the ambulance with my other son because he fell off of the door barricade. Let us all learn from recent tragedies and do all we can to prevent them from occurring in our community.

Alexa Griffith, Carmel

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