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
Partly Cloudy
77° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 79°
Robinson
Partly Cloudy
73° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 73°
Indianapolis
Partly Cloudy
75° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 75°
Rockville
Partly Cloudy
74° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 74°
Casey
Partly Cloudy
76° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 76°
Brazil
Mostly Cloudy
77° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 79°
Marshall
Partly Cloudy
77° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 79°
Scattered storms, warm evening
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

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

Cases: 1388634

Reported Deaths: 25566
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook55620110461
DuPage923681316
Will769181032
Lake683491014
Kane59419807
Winnebago34106506
Madison30930526
McHenry29182294
St. Clair28316519
Peoria23443342
Champaign21100154
Sangamon19094240
McLean18553187
Tazewell17227305
Rock Island15245329
Kankakee14550217
Kendall1327899
LaSalle12779250
Macon10997211
DeKalb10116121
Vermilion10021142
Adams8677126
Williamson7595134
Whiteside7199174
Boone683677
Ogle620683
Grundy598678
Clinton578991
Coles5770100
Knox5642153
Jackson510065
Henry507870
Livingston489691
Woodford483282
Stephenson481985
Macoupin478288
Effingham476872
Franklin454178
Marion4513117
Jefferson4422122
Monroe438094
Lee419354
Randolph416487
Fulton405159
Logan396964
Morgan393482
Christian383875
Montgomery379474
Bureau378383
Fayette322555
Perry320360
Iroquois313867
McDonough290851
Jersey271652
Douglas260636
Saline260357
Lawrence241127
Shelby232638
Union228141
Crawford214525
Bond208724
Cass203527
Ford188948
Warren184148
Clark183733
Jo Daviess182724
Pike181853
Wayne181053
Hancock180631
Carroll178337
Richland176940
Edgar176740
White170626
Washington164825
Moultrie163128
De Witt157229
Mason154145
Piatt152414
Clay149643
Mercer149334
Johnson147616
Greene145134
Massac135840
Wabash135612
Cumberland130119
Menard125012
Jasper116718
Marshall108119
Hamilton84215
Schuyler7797
Brown7286
Pulaski7007
Stark64824
Edwards57712
Calhoun5302
Henderson52814
Scott4881
Putnam4863
Alexander47411
Gallatin4694
Hardin39112
Pope3284
Out of IL350
Unassigned02433

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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

Cases: 750702

Reported Deaths: 13766
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1032371783
Lake556801007
Allen41671691
St. Joseph36983564
Hamilton36570417
Elkhart29394459
Tippecanoe22894225
Vanderburgh22555400
Porter19354325
Johnson18432388
Hendricks17615317
Clark13207193
Madison13141344
Vigo12612253
LaPorte12418221
Monroe12202175
Delaware10955198
Howard10298225
Kosciusko9626120
Hancock8563145
Bartholomew8167157
Warrick7858156
Floyd7785180
Grant7234179
Wayne7161201
Boone6943103
Morgan6747141
Dubois6215118
Marshall6210116
Cass6008109
Dearborn589778
Henry5895109
Noble580987
Jackson508975
Shelby501096
Lawrence4738122
Gibson444793
Clinton441255
Harrison441173
DeKalb439685
Montgomery437590
Whitley406443
Huntington402681
Steuben399859
Miami393169
Jasper387754
Knox375890
Putnam372360
Wabash360683
Ripley347070
Adams345455
Jefferson335885
White331653
Daviess3033100
Wells295281
Decatur289992
Greene286885
Fayette284864
Posey273835
LaGrange273072
Scott270156
Clay266548
Washington245434
Randolph244783
Jennings235349
Spencer234531
Starke228058
Fountain220748
Sullivan214443
Owen211658
Fulton202242
Jay200932
Carroll193420
Orange188155
Perry187237
Rush175926
Vermillion174844
Franklin170335
Tipton166146
Parke149416
Pike138234
Blackford136232
Pulaski120647
Newton113736
Brown104243
Crawford102416
Benton101514
Martin91715
Warren84015
Switzerland8138
Union72810
Ohio57811
Unassigned0420