Several students were found carrying weapons in Marion County schools during the first month of school
During the first few weeks of schooling in central Indiana, students were found on school grounds carrying guns or firearm implements more than six times.
The ages of the students range from early age to primary school Student at Clark Pleasant Community School District For high school students at multiple schools in Marion County.
advertiserAta shows that in recent years, an increasing number of students have been carrying guns with them to schools, raising concerns about student safety and the availability of firearms for children.
And those who work closely with at-risk youth in high-crime areas of Indianapolis say they believe the problem has gotten worse in recent years.
“It’s gotten to the point where our college students are protecting themselves,” said Anthony Beverly, director of Stop the Violence in Indianapolis, a group focused on youth empowerment in high-crime and poverty-stricken areas of the city.
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Valerie McCray, a clinical psychologist who counsels young people at the Stop the Violence group in Indianapolis, said she believes schools are not providing students with the tools they need to succeed after graduation.
“These kids are not prepared for life,” said McCray, the Democratic candidate for US Senate. “These are mature guys who grow quickly but don’t have the skills to match that, and the skills they do have are weapons and learning how to deal with the streets.”
Two of the incidents this school year involved Indianapolis students who were carrying rifles with machine gun conversion devices, also known as glock switch One of those incidents occurred North Central High School And another in which the Taliban participated in Old school KIPP
Devin Morrell works with the group Stop the Violence Indianapolis to help other youth at risk, and told IndyStar that kids carry guns so they feel safe and because they want to look cool.
“It’s what kids find cool these days because of the music, and it’s glorified by culture and social media,” Morrell said.
A Warren Township student was arrested Aug. 15 for possession of a gun on school property after students shared with school police photos the student posted on social media of him holding the gun.
When questioned by police, the student said the gun belonged to his friend, and he took the photo because he thought the gun was “beautiful,” according to a probable cause affidavit.
On August 10, a student at the Sidener Academy for High Ability Students in the Indianapolis public school district that serves students in grades two through eight — the district’s top performing school — was found with an empty pistol clip in the school.
Increased guns in schools in Marion County
Firearms are increasingly being found on schoolyards in Marion County.
According to student discipline data from the Indiana State Department of Education, the number of incidents involving students disciplined for possession of a firearm at school increased from about 40 per year in Marion County schools from 2018-2020 to 57 last year.
State law prohibits the use of guns on school campuses, but Beverly said Indiana’s unlicensed gun law — which took effect just over a year ago — has played a role in the increase in guns in schools.
“(Youth) think it’s okay now, that everyone can have a gun,” Beverly said.
Kay Clements, a Lawrence Central High School graduate, said these recent events prompted him to start thinking more about the gun issue at school.
“Instead of just staying focused on my educational goals, I have to think about what I can do for safety in the back of my mind,” Clements told IndyStar.
How to stop the problem
Most gun incidents found in schools result in students being disciplined or expelled from school.
Many student codes of conduct in Marion County school districts require students to be expelled for one year if they are found with a firearm or other deadly weapon that could be used to cause serious bodily injury on school property.
The rise of guns on school campuses has led some school districts to enact policies to try to prevent guns from reaching schools.
The district purchased Perry Township AI weapon detection system worth $1.5 million for use in each of their high schools. Decatur students are required to use clear backpacks Starting this academic year.
Lawrence North High School senior Kay Benford understands that preventing gun violence can be difficult, but said he believes state legislators have a role to play in keeping students safe.
“I think we have to count on the state government to make tougher gun laws that make it harder for people to get (guns). “This way, he greatly reduces the risk of shooting,” Benford said.
Schools are not the only places where Indianapolis youth can obtain guns, sometimes with deadly consequences.
Just last week a An 11-year-old boy accidentally shot himself On the east side of Indianapolis. The shooting comes after what the police said was a The number of accidental shootings has skyrocketed this yearwith a quarter of all non-fatal and unintentional shootings by mid-year involving juveniles.
During his years helping at-risk children in Indianapolis, Beverly said the most effective strategy he’s seen is listening to children directly affected by gun violence.
“It’s about letting kids be experts,” Beverly said. “We have to listen to what their heart desires, and ask creative questions that help them extract what they already know.”
IndyStar reporter Sarah Nelson contributed to this report.
Contact IndyStar reporter Carolyn Beck at 317-618-5807 or CBeck@gannett.com. Follow her on Twitter: @CarolineB_Indy.
Caroline’s reporting is made possible by Report for America and Glick Philanthropies. As part of its work in Marion County, Glick Philanthropies partners with organizations focused on closing access and achievement gaps in education.
Report for America is a program of the GroundTruth Project, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening local newsrooms. Report for America provides funding for up to half of a reporter’s salary during his time with us, and IndyStar fundraises the rest.
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This article originally appeared on the Indianapolis Star: As the school year begins, more guns are showing up in Marion County schools