BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — After two incidents where a student brought a gun to school, a group of parents in Bloomington said they are worried about their children’s safety.
For the past few weeks, they have been asking the Monroe County Community School Corporation to reevaluate its safety protocols after the board voted last May to disarm school resource officers.
“We can’t leave them like sitting ducks, and that’s what they are,” Maria Douglas said. “There are parents who haven’t sent their kid back. I am not a teacher. I don’t have the capacity to do that at home, so I have to send my kids.”
“I give my son a hug and kiss every morning because I don’t know,” Elizabeth Bullock said.
Bullock and Douglas are part of a group of parents in the district that are fighting to get school resource officers armed again and have a conversation with the district and board about school safety.
Since the start of the school year, they said a gun was found at Bloomington High School South in September and again two weeks later when the school went on lockdown.
“To really look at prevention efforts and look at some of the decisions that were made back in May that we really believe has gotten us to where we are,” Bullock said.
During last May’s school board meeting, board members said the decision to disarm resource officers was based off studies and research.
“I don’t want anyone to think that this was a flip or flippant decision we made off the cuff in a reactive way,” one board member said. “I absolutely want our students to be safe. I want our facility and staff to be safe.”
Bullock and Douglas said close to 100 other parents agree with them and want to the board to reconsider their decision. On Tuesday night, they plan to bring their concerns to board once again.
“We want the SROs armed…period. We want them armed,” Douglas said.
“I think we want to be heard as parents, and we want to be part of those conversations,” Bullock said. “We are not asking them to disclose tactile information about their plans to keep our kids safe. We are asking them to have a dialogue about decisions that were made in light of what happened.”
Monroe County Community School Corporation released the following statement:
MCCSC has a district-wide school safety committee and every school building has its own school safety committee. MCCSC also has several well-trained school safety specialists throughout the corporation that work collaboratively with building leadership and outside organizations. The district-wide school safety committee consists of representatives from MCCSC and community, such as state and local law enforcement agencies, fire departments, emergency management, IU Health, public health, juvenile probation and mental health agencies. It meets a few times a year and as needed. When school safety situations arise, administrators and school personnel meet to talk and debrief. Plans are updated and revised if needed. There have been multiple meetings recently and there will continue to be additional meetings to discuss school safety.
Every MCCSC building has a school safety plan that is reviewed annually and ongoing as necessary. It is recommended that details of these plans are not shared publicly because it would not be in the interest of safety to do so. Every building plan is unique and if parents have questions or concerns, they should contact the building principal. However, parents should be aware that confidential information cannot be shared.
MCCSC employs a school resource officer as well as security guards. Their main responsibility is making sure safety protocols are being followed. They often serve as a resource that our students turn to when they have concerns for another student's well-being or when they have concerns about school safety.
Building positive relationships with our students is a priority and our students' social emotional learning is integral to the work that we do every day.