Local teacher shares concerns after 2 8th-grade students became shooting victims

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A teacher on the far east side is pleading for help. She says in her 24 years of teaching, she never thought she’d be dealing with this amount of violence.

In one year, she’s had two 8th graders that have been shot. At a very young age, these children are dealing with very serious adult issues and teachers say it’s time to change that.

“I have a student in my classroom who is trying to take notes with a hand that’s completely bandaged because he has a gunshot wound in his hand,” said Jennifer Nagle, an 8th Grade U.S. History Teacher.

Nagle found out one of her 8th-grade students was involved in a shooting over the weekend and unfortunately, it’s not the first time.

“Our children are being shot outside their own homes on a Saturday afternoon,” said Nagle, “How can he even care when your country declared independence when those are the things he’s worrying about?”

Her passion is to teach the far east side youth at Phalen Leadership Academy. She considers all of the students part of her family. But recently, she’s noticed violence on the streets, impacting the teens in her classroom.

“The teachers are here to make sure that they are succeeding,” said Nagle, “It’s a really strange, awful position for him to be in and the teachers as well.”

Nagle is calling on city leaders to listen up and help.  Eric Simmons is Phalen Leadership Academy’s Director of Security and Student Behavior.

“I’ve been to seven funerals in 2019 from students that I have known,” said Simmons.

Simmons describes this side of town as a war zone.

“There are issues that stem from what they’re going through here in the neighborhood,” said Simmons, “If I may say, we’re dealing with a lot in terms of violence that happens before they get here at school.”

He says the school is doing what it can to support and love the students, but more needs to be done in one the city’s most dangerous zip codes.

Simmons added, “That’s why we’re crying out to the public. We need your help.”

Currently, Phalen Leadership Academy is working towards a $3.5 million fundraising goal in hopes to get teens off the streets and into a safe place.

“Have our community center, have a gym for them to come to so they’re safe. They can go out and play on a Saturday and be safe,” said Nagle.

If you would like to help Phalen Leadership Academy reach their current goal of $3.5 million, you can reach out to the school by calling (317) 552-1600. You can also visit their website by clicking here.

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