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Indiana’s top educator: Violence impacts students, families

Indiana’s top educator: Violence impacts students, families

David Williams | News 8

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indiana’s top educator says violence is impacting Hoosier students.

“I know just here of late, there’s just been a lot of student deaths across the state. There’s been a lot of students that, you know, the violence may not have taken their life, but they’re injured,” said Jennifer McCormick, Indiana’s superintendent of public instruction.

Data given to News 8 by the Indiana Department of Education shows more than two dozen students across the state have died as a result of gun violence since September 2017.

On Aug. 23, 16-year-old Nicholas Nelson and his 15-year-old sister, Ashlynn Nelson, were getting ready for school when they were shot and killed in Indianapolis.

“This year, unfortunately, we’ve seen — it seems like — an uptick in that violence that is starting to impact our students. Anytime that happens, we reach out to schools, we’re trying to be a good partner,” McCormick explained. “But I think we need to have conversations regarding violence (how) does impact families.”

McCormick said school officials are carefully watching and having conversations.

“I have a lot of faith in our law enforcement and partners there we have locally,” McCormick explained.

McCormick said schools statewide are already working on proactive solutions.

“Our schools, I have a lot of faith in. They have programs in place. We’ve really been hitting that social-emotional-behavioral piece hard. We’ve been dealing a lot with competencies for our students so they have better relationships and they’re better self-aware,” McCormick said.

McCormick said school safety specialists have a constant pulse on their local schools to make sure they know what the principals, teachers, counselors and bus drivers are hearing. As well as paying close attention to calls that come in.

Indiana’s Department of Education has helpful resources if you or someone you know might be a victim of violence.

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger of violence, call 911.