Parents, students on edge after rumored threats, incidents at Carmel High School

Superintendent video, emails address concerns
Posted at 10:24 AM, Feb 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-15 22:40:16-05

CARMEL, Ind. -- Parents and students are on edge after a half-dozen rumored threats and incidents at Carmel High School within the past week, adding to anxiety following Wednesday's fatal school shooting in Florida that left 17 dead.

According to an email to parents from Thomas Harmas, principal of Carmel High School, the most recent incident happened in the lunch room on Thursday. Harmas says a student with special needs had a "behavioral struggle." 

"Trained staff engaged in a crisis prevention institute approved physical restraint to keep the student safe as well as all other students safe. When students saw what was taking place and were unsure of the situation, they immediately went into their school safety training and began evacuating the building. There was never a threat to student or staff safety, nor was a student in possession of a gun. Within a matter of minutes, students and staff were brought back into the building to resume classes as normal."

The video below shows the moments after that incident in the lunch room when students started to run from the school:




In a separate incident Thursday, Harmas says students alerted staff to a student who had a knife, and that student was taken into custody. No students were ever threatened, according to Harmas.

On Wednesday,  a video was posted on social media of a student showing off magazines for a gun. 

Harmas says the video was investigated by the school administration and Carmel police and was deemed not to be a threat.

Courtney Taylor, the spokesperson for Carmel Clay Schools, says the student who posted the video is not facing any disciplinary measures and did not make a threat.

Students also made school administrators aware of a rumor of a possible school shooting on Wednesday.

In another email from Harmas'  on Thursday, he responded to that rumor:

"Yesterday, we were made aware by students of a rumor of a possible school shooting. This rumor started due to a text strand between a group of students. To paraphrase, they were talking about the past two weeks’ events and then a student wrote that he didn’t want something like a school shooting to happen. Another wrote to a friend that a dangerous time would be when all the students are in a convocation.Then others chimed in saying “let’s talk about good things” and they began to write about puppies. From there the rumor mill went to “there is going to be a school shooting at Friday’s convocation.” To be clear, a threat was never made. Ladies and gentlemen, there is not a convocation on Friday and there has never been a convocation scheduled on Friday. NEVER."

Harmas says counselors and social workers, along with teachers and Student Resource Officers, having been providing support for students who may need it.

He also listed some of the safety measures currently in place at Carmel Clay Schools:

  • All staff in Carmel Clay Schools are trained in safety procedures and protocols on a regular basis
  • CHS has four Carmel Police Department officers in the building (SROs) during the school day; all elementary and middle schools have assigned SROs
  • All staff and students are familiar with ourALICE training program certification
  • All staff and students participate in safety drills and scenario based drills on a monthly basis
  • Carmel Police Department and Carmel Clay Schools collaborate and review each school's safety plans on a regular basis
  • All schools have all exterior doors locked during the school day and all individuals that enter the school must be checked in through our school security software, SchoolGate Guardian
  • Carmel Clay Schools offers Anonymous Alert, an electronic reporting system located in MyCCS in which students and parents can anonymously report safety concerns.

To further clear up the rumors, Harmas released a video about the incidents at Carmel High School.

Class has not been canceled at Carmel High School, but many parents kept their kids home Thursday anyway and are considering it on Friday as well.

One mother said her son was unable to sleep and after the Florida school shooting,she decided to pull her son out of school Thursday and Friday, "I can't force him to go to school if he doesn't feel safe. I'm not going to put him in that situation."

Heath Matthias, a parent of a Carmel student, said his child is home safe for the day. 

"My daughter is not one to overreact and she was scared," he tweeted. "I saw no need for her to feel that way so called in for her"

In addition to these recent incidents, a male student was arrested after he pulled a knife on a female student in the restroom at Carmel High school last Thursday. She was able to disarm him and report what happened to her teacher and school administrators.

MORE | Carmel High School student: "I'm no hero. I just resorted to what I learned"

Some parents are even are more on edge after what happened Wednesday in Parkland, Florida. A former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School opened fire at the school, killing 17 people, police say.

MORE ON THE FLORIDA SHOOTING | Florida high school mass shooting: 17 dead, ex-student arrested | How Indiana politicians reacted to the Florida school shooting | Florida school shooting marks one of the deadliest in US history | Parkland shooting suspect booked at Florida jail | Coach dies after shielding students from gunfire in Florida school shooting | Nikolas Cruz: What we know so far about the Florida school shooting suspect

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