NOBLRESVILLE — When school opens in Noblesville soon, students and teachers should feel a bit safer in the classroom.
Working with local police, the school system has installed about 1,000 door barricading devices in all of its schools.
The barricading devices are new to Indiana schools and required a special hearing with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, Fire Prevention and Building Safety Commission before being approved for use.
“As state school safety leaders, we’re proud of the almost 50 different safety improvements we’ve implemented within the last two years,” added Noblesville Schools Safety Director Dr. Heather Hendrich. “These barricading devices add another important layer for keeping our students and staff protected in the event of an emergency.”
Sadly, Noblesville is no stranger to school violence. In 2018, a 13-year-old boy shot and wounded a teacher and a young student at Noblesville West Middle School.
The door barricades create a safe zone within school buildings during a crisis, allowing students and staff to fully secure themselves in classrooms within seconds. The device can be deactivated from within the classroom, and will still allow first responders to access the room quickly, if needed.
Students and staff will receive training and practice with the devices during regularly scheduled school safety drills.
Other major safety upgrades the district has implemented recently include tripling the number of school resource officers for coverage at all times in all schools, introducing gun-detecting safety dogs, creating a full-time safety director, enhancing safety technology tools, hardening doors and windows, and implementing more rigorous visitor checks and procedures.
These safety improvements were funded thanks to the passage of the 2018 school referendum. The referendum provided Noblesville Schools with dollars for safety and mental health upgrades, and additional teacher compensation.