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New security features at South Bend schools follow state recommendations

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- It’s a question all parents want to know the answer to: What is my child’s school doing to keep students safe?

In August, the State of Indiana released a 135-page report to school administrators with new safety recommendations.

These suggestions follow the May 25 shooting at Noblesville West Middle School. The event hitting too close to home for state officials which prompted action.

“It’s a greater issue than something we can solve here in one building,” said Patty Karban, Principal of Darden Primary Center.

But what about several buildings?

Darden Primary Center is one of 11 schools in South Bend have new, secure entrances installed this year.

These schools also received the secure door modifications:

  • Clay International Academy
  • Jefferson Traditional School
  • Harrison Elementary School
  • Hay Elementary School
  • Hamilton Traditional School
  • Kennedy Academy
  • Lincoln Elementary School
  • McKinley Elementary School
  • Tarkington Elementary School
  • Coquillard Elementary School

With the new doors, parents or visitors will have to be buzzed in before stopping in the office and entering the main building.

The doors are also under surveillance.

“It also ensures the safety of the students and the staff, just making sure that we know who’s in the building at all times,” Halie Taylor, teacher at Darden Primary Center.

South Bend Community School Corporation spent a total of $239,238 on the new entrances. They have a total budget of over $2 million for this project.

Across the state safety funding has been almost exclusively used for officers and equipment. Only one percent has been used for threat assessments.

Is it money well-spent?

Riley High School Principal Shawn Henderson said their resource officer is the backbone to trust within the walls of Riley.

“He is a 20-year vet in this building alone so, he comes with a lot of relationships. What’s funny is he was with me when I was a child,” said Shawn Henderson, Principal of Riley High School “He is here and he brings a presence.”

Other safety recommendations like windows facing entrances and beautification that makes students feel like the school is theirs were also made in the report.

“The parents have actually really appreciated it just knowing their kids’ ensured safety here while they’re in school,” said Taylor.

Another important recommendation by the state – tip lines.

“We have Quick Tip, where kids can make anonymous reports,” said Henderson. “We have to build a community where our students trust us, we have to build a community where they aren’t perceived as ‘a snitch.’”

But the overall way to keep students and staff safe at South Bend schools, “If you see something, say something,” said Henderson.

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