School district makes sweeping security changes in wake of shooting

Tuesday night, Noblesville schools rolled out a comprehensive and costly list of recommendations to improve school safety.

The school board says the improvements were already in the works prior to the May 25 shooting at Noblesville West Middle School that left student Ella Whistler, 13, and teacher Jason Seaman, 29, critically injured.

Seaman was at the school board meeting Tuesday and received a standing ovation. He took action to stop the shooter.

The student accused in the shooting is currently facing multiple charges and is due back in court for another hearing on June 25.

“We are so appreciative of the Noblesville Police Department for agreeing to share the additional school resource officers,” said Dr. Beth Niedermeyer, superintendent of Noblesville Schools.

The school board cannot release specific details of the safety plan publicly but the recommendations will include:

-Elimination of all portable classrooms

-Additional school resource officers

-Enhanced facility structures

-Increased facility lockdown tools

-Classroom barricading products

-Additional surveillance equipment

-School parking lot access control

-Additional technology for increased safety communications

-Additional counseling staff and mental health supports

“We are pleased that we are able to address community concerns by eliminating portable classrooms and adding safety enhancements to our already comprehensive list of safety measures,” said Dr. Niedermeyer.

The funding for many of these enhancements is already in place but Noblesville Schools is still exploring options which may include asking the community to support a referendum to provide additional funding for safety initiatives and teacher compensation later this year.

The district is also planning to host a Community Safety Summit and a Safety Panel with law enforcement sometime this summer.

“Safety in today’s world is a complex issue and there are no easy answers,” said Dr. Niedermeyer. “We are committed to working together with law enforcement, community leaders, parents and the overall community to best protect students. We will be purposeful in our approach to safety enhancements and will make decisions based on what experts recommend.”

The district will bring the formal plan and the price tag to the school board for approval. Parents hope to see the upgrades by the start of next school year.

Network Indiana contributed to this story.