Hamilton Southeastern Schools has the HSE Board of School Trustees issued apologies Aug. 20 for a recent incident involving the younger brother of fallen Elwood Police Dept. Officer Noah Shahnavaz. Officer Shahnavaz’s brother attends Fishers High School.
After recently returning to class, the brother of Officer Shahnavaz encountered a sign in his classroom that read “Defund the Police?” Officer Shahnavaz, a Fishers native, was a 2016 Fishers High School graduate who was fatally shot during a July 31 traffic stop.
HSE officials said the poster was from a research project from the previous school year made by a student who looked at the pros and cons of defunding the police. School officials, who declined to identify the teacher or release further details, said theposter was removed from the classroom and released thefollowing statement expressing regret for the incident:
“Our teachers strive to incorporate student-driven, relevant lessons into curriculum while meeting the academic standards as set by the Indiana Department of Education.
“A student’s research project from the previous school year, listing the arguments both for and against the movement of “defunding the police” was left on display in a classroom at Fishers High School. As soon as the school was made aware of the issue, the concern was swiftly dealt with. However, we understand the impact was hurtful for individuals, and we deeply regret the pain it caused.
“While we allow teachers and students to examine social issues that are relevant to their lives, we affirm publicly through our partnership with local law enforcement that we stand in solidarity of the men and women who willing face dangerous circumstances each day to keep us safe.”
The HSE Board of School Trustees has also issued an apology stating that the school district does not advocate defunding the police and works to create a safe environment for students.
“The Hamilton Southeastern Schools Board of School Trustees deeply regrets the pain that was caused due to a student-made research poster that was displayed in one of our high school classrooms. As a district we recognize our responsibility to provide a safe environment for students to learn and we failed to provide that in this case.
“Losing Officer Shahnavaz, a young alumnus of HSE Schools, who not only served his country selflessly, but was protecting others in his job as a police officer, was devastating. HSE has let the Shahnavaz family know how deeply sorry we are to have contributed to more heartache for them. The teacher involved has apologized as well and is deeply remorseful for causing additional pain to her student and their family.
“HSE does not advocate for defunding the police. HSE works closely with the Fishers Police Department with the resource officers that are present in our buildings, the officers who help with traffic at our schools, and the officers who help monitor our community 24/7 to keep our students safe. We are and continue to be tremendously grateful for their service. Our students, staff and community are much safer because of our relationship with our police department.
“HSE Schools will use this experience as an example of how we can and must do better in the future to ensure all our students feel safe, accepted, and supported.”