Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

September 25, 2013

Vigo County touts school safety program

School officials talked to an Indiana Senate school safety committee Tuesday.

(Continued)

All school buildings are now locked. More security cameras were installed. School staff went through active-shooter training with police officers. A school protection officer was placed at the front door of each building. All visitors are escorted through the halls.

“We tightened things up in a pleasant way, a caring way,” Tanoos said.

In response to legislators’ questions, Tanoos noted that no teachers or staff are allowed to carry weapons in the schools.

And neither Chief Plasse nor Sheriff Ewing said they would support arming teachers.

State Senators Alan Morrison and Tim Skinner, the former a Republican, the latter a Democrat, agreed with that position.

“One of the things this committee is struggling with is putting a gun on a principal or a teacher. Does that make the school safer?” asked Skinner, a retired teacher.

“The committee needs affirmation that it’s not a good idea to arm teachers or staff. Unfortunately, there are communities around the state where peoplethink it is a good idea to let teachers be armed.”

Morrison said the Vigo County effort is a good example of how a community responded to the security question on its own, adding that the legislature hopes other communities are not afraid to take that local approach.

“There is such a diversity of communities, though,” Morrison said. “What Vigo County does won’t work everywhere, but we need to find out what can work and help communities make their schools safe for students and staff.”

Morrison said the committee is tasked with addressing concerns with current school safety legislation so that changes in language or funding can be made in the upcoming legislative session.

“We’re likely to get back together to go over what we’ve learned, and to come up with solutions,” he said. “That’s why hearing from these guys who are already protecting their schools is so great.”

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