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Washington Township parents concerned about safety

Posted at 11:41 PM, Sep 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-25 23:41:16-04

WASHINGTON TWP. — Parents on the north side of Indianapolis aired their concerns about guns on campus after two disturbing discoveries in Washington Township schools.

Since the beginning of the school year, guns have been found at North Central High School and Westlane Middle School.

It may feel like guns being found on campus is happening more often — whether located in a car or in a building — and parents in Washington Township say something needs to be done before their worst fears become a reality.

And so far this school year, parents have received two phone calls that didn't sit well with them.

"My first reaction was fear, of course. It's hard for a parent to receive that phone call," Kelli Baumgarn, Washington Township parent council, said. "I think when Noblesville happened a couple of years ago that was really concerning (because) it was in our backyard. Now when we start getting the calls from our own principals, it's scary."

Baumgarn is a concerned parent and president of the Washington Township Parent Council. She has two children in the district where guns, and both go to schools where weapons were found. Both incidents left Baumgarn wondering why this is happening and what parents can do to stop it.

"So immediately the board of director for the Parent Council Network started piling ideas, and we said, 'we really need to talk about this.' We know this is a problem and we need to address it," Baumgarn said.

Brian Clouse is the chief of police for Washington Township Schools and is part of the conversation. Clouse says there are several things parents can do to help, and it starts by asking questions about what their kids are doing online. A place where students could be posting warning signs.

"The parents need to know usernames and passwords and be able to get into those accounts and be aware that they have apps that hide the other apps," Clouse said. "Question your children: "what are you doing here, who are you talking to?" Because a lot of the behaviors that get reported to us comes out of social media and we're able to intercept in pretty quickly."

Brian Moore has a daughter at one of the schools where a gun was found. Moore says he's encouraged to see a packed room of parents looking for solutions to an on-going problem.

"This is a conversation that I say goes beyond the Facebook conversation where everybody gets upset for a while and then goes away," Moore said. "And there's a need for that, there's a place for that because I think people are trying to find ways to process that, but I think just encouraging parents to continue to be there and fight for our kids."

During Wednesday's meeting, police also discussed how important it is for parents to keep their own firearms locked up and off-limits to kids. By keeping guns off-limits, it makes it harder for young people to get their hands on deadly weapons.

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