Irvington charter school shares importance of having an SRO

How many of Indiana’s 71 charter schools have school resource officers, also known as SROs? The Indiana Department of Education says they don’t track the number of SROs in schools.

Posted: May 9, 2019 11:09 AM

IRVINGTON, Ind. (WTTV) – Two high school students shot and killed a classmate and injured eight others at a charter school in a Colorado community. A school resource officer was not stationed at the STEM school in Highlands Ranch, however the school does employ private security.

How many of Indiana’s 71 charter schools have school resource officers, also known as SROs? The Indiana Department of Education says they don’t track the number of SROs in schools. They say it’s not required by Indiana law to have one, and it can be costly.

Indiana schools are working to become more secure in the wake of yet another deadly school shooting and for smaller districts and charter schools, that’s a challenge.

“That should never happen, but it does,” said Chief Operations Officer of Irvington Community Schools Tim Mulherin.

Officer Robert Bowser is the school resource officer at Irvington Community Schools, one of the largest public charter schools in the state.

“When there is a problem, we can react to it,” said officer Bowser.

Bowser is an armed officer who plays a key role on all three school campuses. He’s able to protect students because of a matching grant, without that money his position would not exist.

“We’re fortunate enough here for the state secured school safety grant for five or six years and I think more schools are applying, you see private schools applying,” said Bowser.

Irvington was the first public charter in the state to hire an SRO in 2011. A resource that Mulherin says is and continues to be critical.

“Today is just different and we’re having way too many of these experiences at our schools,” said Mulherin, “It’s heartbreaking for me to see a photograph from yesterday of a kindergarten child with her hands up in the air behind her head walking out of the school.”

According to the Indiana Department of Education, it’s not a requirement for schools to have an officer on staff. However, it is required to have a safety specialist. At Irvington, more than seven teachers are trained in case of an emergency.

“We’ve just determined as a school district, as a public charter school, it’s very important to have that presence here and the parents have supported it,” said Mulherin.

The state is supporting school safety, too. Just last week, Governor Eric Holcomb signed the school safety bill into law. It says, Indiana secured school fund matching grants may be used to hire an SRO. Representative Wendy McNamara authored House bill 1004. She told us over the phone, she hopes the passing of this bill will provide accessibility and flexibility to keep kids safe across Indiana.

House Bill 1004:

School safety. Provides that the Indiana safe schools fund may not be used to provide grants to employ a school resource officer or a law enforcement officer. Provides that an Indiana secured school fund matching grant may be used to employ a law enforcement officer. Provides that an accredited nonpublic school may receive a grant from the Indiana secured school fund (fund). Makes changes to the maximum grant amounts that a school corporation, charter school, accredited nonpublic school, or coalition of schools may receive from the fund. Provides that a virtual charter school or a virtual accredited nonpublic school may not receive a grant from the fund. Establishes minimum grant match percentages necessary to be eligible to receive a grant from the fund. Provides that, before July 1, 2021, each school corporation, charter school, or accredited nonpublic school shall certify to the department of homeland security that the school corporation, charter school, or accredited nonpublic school has conducted a threat assessment for each school building used by the school corporation, charter school, or accredited nonpublic school before applying for a fund matching grant. Requires that at least one of the manmade disaster drills that is required to be conducted by each school in a school corporation during each semester must be an active shooter drill and must be conducted within 90 days after the beginning of the school year. Provides that each: (1) accredited nonpublic school; and (2) charter school; must conduct at least one active shooter drill during each school year.

“Every child in the state matters,” said Mulherin, “Doesn’t matter where he or she goes to school their safety is also paramount.”

The Indiana Department of Education surveyed schools across the state last year. While not every district responded, only half that did said they had a school resource officer on staff.

Terre Haute
Clear
86° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 89°
Robinson
Scattered Clouds
82° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 87°
Indianapolis
Broken Clouds
82° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 85°
Rockville
Clear
82° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 83°
Casey
Clear
84° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 87°
Brazil
Clear
86° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 89°
Marshall
Clear
86° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 89°
Partly cloudy, calm, and quiet.
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 198248

Reported Deaths: 7866
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook1124844933
Lake12852447
DuPage12427522
Kane9878305
Will9413346
St. Clair4107161
Winnebago3797131
McHenry3250114
Madison270276
Kankakee180269
Rock Island176436
Champaign169319
Peoria166736
Kendall139823
Unassigned1347209
Sangamon129733
DeKalb94730
LaSalle80124
Boone76923
Jackson73120
McLean67015
Macon65023
Tazewell6108
Adams5576
Coles49221
Randolph4747
Williamson4346
Ogle4165
Clinton41517
Whiteside36617
Grundy3345
Stephenson3346
Union32723
Monroe32313
Knox3131
Jefferson29219
Morgan2696
Iroquois26711
Henry2531
Vermilion2342
Cass23311
Bureau2313
Franklin1941
Warren1910
Perry1842
Macoupin1823
Lee1781
Montgomery1717
Marion1650
Effingham1631
Woodford1583
Logan1571
McDonough14515
Christian1434
Saline1342
Jo Daviess1301
Livingston1223
Douglas1222
Jersey1172
Pulaski941
Clark872
Shelby861
Mercer764
Moultrie750
White710
Johnson710
Fayette693
Washington670
Wayne662
Piatt630
Hancock631
Bond623
Carroll614
Jasper607
Greene590
Cumberland573
Menard570
Mason560
Lawrence510
Gallatin512
Ford502
Massac410
Wabash400
Alexander370
Fulton350
De Witt340
Crawford300
Edgar290
Hamilton290
Marshall280
Clay260
Pike240
Scott210
Edwards200
Richland200
Hardin180
Schuyler180
Brown150
Putnam140
Henderson130
Pope110
Calhoun90
Stark70
Out of IL10

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 75862

Reported Deaths: 3069
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion16088730
Lake7688278
Elkhart492685
Allen4002163
St. Joseph357883
Hamilton2829104
Vanderburgh202213
Hendricks1927108
Cass18029
Johnson1789119
Porter135539
Clark128749
Tippecanoe123811
Madison100665
LaPorte93130
Howard91365
Kosciusko86812
Bartholomew81747
Floyd80948
Marshall79323
Monroe76631
Delaware74552
Dubois70812
Vigo69911
Noble68829
Boone68746
Hancock68339
Jackson5965
Warrick58830
Shelby56527
LaGrange56310
Grant52930
Dearborn51228
Morgan49334
Clinton4444
Henry40620
Wayne38510
White37611
Montgomery35921
Lawrence35227
Harrison34823
Decatur34132
Putnam3128
Daviess27720
Miami2772
Scott27210
Jasper2552
Greene25434
Franklin24615
DeKalb2384
Gibson2314
Jennings22712
Steuben2133
Ripley2138
Carroll1962
Fayette1947
Perry18713
Posey1790
Starke1787
Wells1742
Orange17424
Fulton1722
Wabash1703
Jefferson1672
Knox1610
Whitley1556
Tipton14312
Washington1421
Sullivan1381
Spencer1373
Clay1245
Huntington1243
Randolph1244
Newton12010
Adams1092
Owen991
Jay920
Rush854
Pulaski811
Fountain742
Brown741
Blackford652
Ohio656
Benton640
Pike590
Vermillion580
Switzerland530
Parke511
Martin480
Crawford450
Union410
Warren241
Unassigned0206