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Major changes unveiled at Noblesville school safety forum

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (WISH) -- With just two weeks before school is back in session, the Noblesville School District held a school safety forum Wednesday night. 

About 50 people showed up to the meeting inside Noblesville High School’s auditorium. It’s a crucial face-to-face forum between parents and administrators that outlined major changes the district will implement when school starts August 1. 

With the school shooting at Noblesville West Middle School fresh in everyone’s mind, the changes aim to prevent another shooting from ever happening again. 

This is the last time parents will get the chance to be face to face with administrators before school starts. It’s a key meeting that outlined some major safety changes that aims to prevent the May 25 shooting from ever happening again. 

“They will be allowed to have their cell phones with them,” said Superintendent Beth Niedermeyer. “That was a big challenge that we had. The parents couldn’t get a hold of their kids during the shooting.”

School administrators outlined changes and enhancements that will impact five key areas: mental health, school procedures, metal detectors, law enforcement and facilities/equipment. 

Among some of the changes include increased mental health support for students, double the amount of police officers, backpacks must stay in lockers at all times and strict background checks will be performed on adults entering the building.

These were all changes parents were eager to hear as the memory of the Noblesville West Middle school shooting rang clear in their minds. 

“Having sat outside these doors for hours waiting to seek proof of life basically,” recalled parent, Libby Firanek. “Texting with my kids and trying to calm down a daughter whose greatest fear for the past four years was being shot in school. “

Students will also be required to carry IDs at all times. Visitors will also have limited access to hallways. 

“If you don’t have a reason to be inside of the building then you will not have access inside of the school building,” said Safety Director, Mark Booth during Wednesday’s forum. 

The forum aimed to not only showcase what the school is doing, but also encourage parents to get involved when it comes to protecting their kids. 

“It goes beyond just the four walls of the school building,” said parent Anita Roger. “We have to talk about mental health. We have to talk about responsible gun ownership and gun safety. We really want to partner with the schools and say it’s not just your responsibility it’s all of our responsibility."

School officials said they will also be monitoring kids online with a special program that will allow them to catch key words that could tip them off to a potential threat. 

The Noblesville School District applied for 36 metal detectors via a state program. Those metal detectors are expected to be in place by mid-August. 

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