Parents seek answers from Noblesville school board after shooting

Photo from scene following shooting at Noblesville West Middle School on May 25, 2018

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. – A 13-year-old boy will appear before a juvenile magistrate in Hamilton County Monday morning to answer for his alleged shooting of a Noblesville West Middle School teacher and student May 25.

Tuesday night, Noblesville parents will seek answers to the safety of their community’s schools from the Noblesville Board of School Trustees.

“We are just concerned parents. We don’t have all the answers but we’re looking for them,” said Brittanie Broadt, organizer of a new group called Secure Our Schools which had its first meeting attended by a handful of parents Sunday afternoon.

In the wake of the school shooting, which ended when science teacher Jason Seaman wrestled the boy to the ground after he allegedly wounded the educator three times and classmate Ella Whistler seven times, Noblesville parents are looking back to determine how seriously their board took the threat of a school gunfire tragedy in the wake of the Valentine’s Day massacre in Parkland, Florida and in the weeks before the NWMS shooting.

“We have the school safety committee that is established and it’s not meeting as frequently as we hoped. Maybe two times a year. I believe there was one year when they didn’t meet at all,” said parent Shannon Ford who told the small group she reviewed four years of Board agendas and minutes. “We need a dedicated school safety director over the entire district. Dedicated 100% fulltime school safety director.”

Special Education Director Mark Booth is referred to in board minutes as the School Safety Coordinator.

“We’re always thinking about the safety of our kids and making sure that those things don’t happen,” Booth told CBS4 during a 2013 interview about school safety.

Trustee Donna Clark represented the board on its School Safety Committee which met twice this year, skipping meetings in January, February and April according to published minutes.

Clark recently announced her resignation from the board for personal reasons.

“I think the biggest thing that surprised me is that there is not a director of safety currently involved in the school,” said Broadt. “There is someone who is doing that to what is a kind of additional piece to what they’re already doing for the school system as well as a safety committee that has already been meeting but it sounds like the agenda gets off on talking about bullying and so many different agendas that it sounds like we’re not talking about the actions we can take now to make school safe in the fall of 2018.

“We’re looking at metal detectors,” Broadt continued. “We want that implemented. That looks affordable and something that could happen right away being proactive keeping a shooter out of the school. There’s been conversation about the doors locking down once the school starts, not only on the entrance exits but also in the classrooms. Bulletproof glass in the classroom doors.

“As someone said today, it hasn’t happened twice anywhere but we don’t want to wait and find out.”

A school district spokeswoman issuing the following statement to CBS4:

“As is our standard practice following any incident, we will thoroughly examine and evaluate our safety protocols. We value input from our parents and community and, in fact, hosted a safety forum in March where we shared information on our safety practices and gathered feedback. Noblesville Schools works closely with law enforcement experts. Any decisions regarding modifications to our safety practices will be evaluated through our school safety committee and will be based on what our law enforcement partners and school safety specialists recommend.”

At 8:30 a.m. the seventh grader who police say pulled at least one gun in the classroom will appear at the Hamilton County Justice Center to formally face 11 charges, including two counts of Attempted Murder.

Because of his age, and the survival of his alleged victims, the child will not be waived over to criminal court, “which will, I am sure, be very troubling and unsatisfying for many people,” Hamilton County Prosecutor Lee Buckingham wrote in a press release dated June 5.

The Noblesville Board of School Trustees meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the district’s headquarters at 18025 River Road.