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Securing our Schools: Washington Township schools routinely review safety plans to keep kids safe

Posted at 6:01 PM, Oct 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-13 14:29:44-05

WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP— Washington Township schools take student safety seriously and say their security plans meet all legal requirements and are routinely reviewed and adjusted to meet the highest standards. 

Within the Metropolitan School District of Washington Township (MSDWT), there are seven elementary schools, three middle schools, one high school, and two alternative programs.

The district is located in the northern section of Indianapolis, Indiana and Marion County. 

MSDWT submits its school safety plan to the state of Indiana each year, as required by Indiana Administrative Code in order to receive accreditation. According to a district spokeswoman Ellen Rogers, Washington Township’s most recent submission was on September 30, 2017. “We anticipate that this year’s plan will be submitted to the state in late September as required by Indiana Administrative Code, Rogers told RTV6. 

When asked what is contained within the plan, the district said its plans and procedures ‘meet all legal requirements of the state of Indiana and take a multi-hazard approach to school safety.’

The district did not want to discuss the details of the protocols and plans in place, citing Indiana Code 5-13-3-4(a)(18), which provides that there are disclosure exceptions in places to ensure that school safety plans and measures are secure. 

“Our plans are routinely reviewed and edited each year to ensure that we are incorporating the best practices in school safety and security,” said Rogers. 

The MSDWT school safety plan that is currently in place was initially developed in 2011, then implemented a year later, utilizing the best practices from the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of Readiness and Emergency Management.  

According to the district, the plan was developed by a multi-disciplinary team that comprises its District Safety Committee and was created in collaboration and review with first responder partners including IMPD, IFD and the City of Indianapolis’ Department of Homeland Security.

When asked what perimeter security is in place, MSDWT declined to disclose those details, again citing state code and the desire to keep the district’s plans and facilities safe and secure. 

Rogers told RTV6 the district employs a total of seven school resource officers as part of its MSDWT School Police Department.  “These officers are fully trained law enforcement and school resource officers, who are certified by the National Association of School Resource Officers and have various assignments,” Rogers said. “They also are (or about to be) certified as Indiana School Safety Specialists.” Several law enforcement officers are also employed on a part-time basis to assist in the deployment of the MDSWT school safety and security program across the district.

Following the Noblesville incident, the MDSWT took advantage of the Governor’s metal detector program, securing 45 of the devices to be used as one of the tools in the district’s toolkit for school safety.

The safety measures do not end with infrastructure. The MSDWT utilizes a software database provided by the City of Indianapolis Department of Homeland Security, allowing first responders to stay updated on school safety plans. “We work collaboratively with IMPD, IFD, IEMS and DHS in any responses required by outside agencies,” Rogers said. 

Washington Township follows the National Incident Management System and Incident Command System regarding the command of incidents involving outside agencies. 

The district is also heavily involved with the Marion County Safe Schools Commission and routinely attends meetings of the Commission throughout the school year. Current policies of the Board of Education do not authorize teachers nor non-law enforcement staff to carry firearms on school property.

Below is a full list of MSDWT schools: 

  • Hilltop Developmental Preschool
  • Allisonville Elementary
  • Crooked Creek Elementary
  • Fox Hill Elementary
  • Greenbriar Elementary
  • John Strange Elementary
  • Nora Elementary
  • Spring Mill Elementary
  • Eastwood Middle School
  • Northview Middle School
  • Westlane Middle School
  • North Central High School
  • J Everett Light Career Center

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