INDIANAPOLIS — School resource officers will no longer be allowed to carry a firearm in Monroe County Community Schools.
The school board voted to change the policy and disarm their SROs at a meeting Tuesday night.
MCCS will still employ school resource officers, but the new policy eliminates their permission to carry weapons on school property.
Making students feel welcome when they walk into school is a key reason some board members gave for voting to disarm their school resource officers.
“For many people, guns signify that we have something to be afraid of,” said board member April Hennessey. “If we say that schools are safe, then we have to lean into that.”
Requests for comment from the school board and district leaders were declined on Wednesday.
Before the vote, the board did read one letter from a nurse with the district criticizing the policy change.
“I feel it’s absurd you have decided to take such drastic actions without consulting with those officers,” read the letter.
“Disarming school resource officers prevents them from doing the full weight of responsibility they’ve been asked to do in the schools. It doesn’t align with best practice,” said Chase Lyday.
Chase, with the Indiana SRO Association, believes having properly trained resource officers carry a firearm makes schools safer and disagrees with the board’s decision.
“School resource officers should be carefully selected and trained to do a job and properly equipped to do that job,” said Lyday.
We contacted multiple districts around central Indiana and couldn’t find any other district that prohibits SRO’s from carrying weapons in schools.
Hamilton Southeastern replied with the following statement: “Our SROs are sworn officers and are under Fishers Police Department. They carry all the necessary resources and tools as any law enforcement officer would.“
Carmel Clay schools added: “SROs in Carmel Clay Schools are full time Carmel Police Departments and fully trained and equipped as Carmel Police Officers.“
Lawrence Township responded with the following: “SROs in the MSD of Lawrence Township are all off-duty first responders. Their classification (police, fire, etc.) determines if they are permitted to carry a firearm.“
Chase believes Monroe County’s policy is the first of its kind.
“We are unaware of any other school district in Indiana that has enacted this policy. We would strongly discourage school districts from disarming SRO’s,” said Lyday.
One board member did vote against the change and asked that the decision be delayed until a new superintendent takes over in July. That request failed to pass.