Noblesville is pursuing an eight-year, $50 million referendum on Nov. 6 to respond, in part, to the May 25 shooting.
Approximately 47 percent of the referendum is for additional teacher compensation to better retain and attract top teaching staff, which I believe is necessary and reasonable. Highly qualified teachers will help Noblesville schools maintain academic success.
The remaining part of the proposed referendum funding is for mental health staff and for safety staff and equipment, much of which is unnecessary and is a bit reactionary to the shooting.
The mental health initiative includes funding for 10 social workers and one mental health coordinator. It is unlikely that additional mental health funding would have prevented the shooting because the 13-year-old shooter was described by classmates and friends as normally friendly and funny and openly interacted with other students.
The safety initiative includes funding for eight additional school resource officers to cover each school, a full-time district safety director, enhanced communication technology system, door barricading products for 1,500 classrooms and offices and specialty trained gun-detection dogs for each school. Most schools in Indiana have opted instead to use free, handheld metal detectors from the state to be used at school entrances, which would negate the need for most of the safety initiatives proposed in the referendum.
I think most people would agree that the shooting was a senseless and horrible tragedy, and the natural inclination is to “do something.”
Let’s vote no to the proposed referendum and force the school district to resubmit in the future a more reasonable and appropriate referendum initiative.