Washington, D.C. – Rep. Todd Rokita (IN-04) issued the following statement after local officials thwarted a threat in Mooresville High School:
“I commend the Mooresville school officials, teachers, and police department for their vigilance. Cooperation between school officials and law enforcement ensured this plan never came to fruition. Communication, like Mooresville demonstrated yesterday, was a key discussion at the School Safety Summit I hosted last week,” said Rokita.
Nearly 100, law enforcement and security industry professionals came together in Plainfield at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy to discuss ways they can work together to facilitate a productive and safe learning environment for students. Among those present were Indiana State Representatives, Peggy Mayfield, Jeff Thompson, Chairman of the House Education Committee Robert Behning, and State Senator Pete Miller.
“Collaboration and communication were two of the main items we discussed. We need to encourage students to talk with their parents and school administrators. However, we also learned that the security industry, law enforcement, and school officials need to communicate with each other to understand the effective technologies available, best practices to utilize, and the unique challenges present in a learning environment that may include a public building. Working together is how we prevent tragedies,” said Rokita.
Summit participants also discussed how to better utilize School Resource Officers (SROs), and whether or not national standards would help or hinder local efforts, realizing every school corporation is different. “Flexibility” was a term used throughout the morning.
“I heard that schools need to be able to implement their own best practices. For example, some schools have a full-time officer in their building every day while other schools only utilize an SRO part-time, but have additional technologies to complement processes, added Rokita.
On Monday, Mooresville law enforcement arrested a Mooresville High School student after uncovering evidence he planned to detonate bombs in his high school. In a counseling session with a school official the student revealed his plans. Mooresville police officers escorted the student home where, upon a search, discovered the ingredients to build several pipe bombs.
The student confessed to Mooresville law enforcement he planned to explode the bombs near the school’s structural pillars and had a military sniper rifle on layaway at a local gun store.
Background on Rep. Rokita’s first School Safety Summit:
In an effort to lead a discussion between parents, school officials, law enforcement, and safety technology professionals, Rep. Rokita hosted a School Safety Summit in Plainfield, Indiana. Hoosiers from all over the state were invited to participate and nearly 100 did, coming from as far away as DeKalb County. Also, representatives from the safety industry traveled cross-country to participate.
At the event, groups broke out into smaller collaborative discussions and talked about issues ranging from technology to how safe students felt at school. The small groups then reconvened later in the day to participate in a larger discussion that recapped content from the breakout groups.
Brownsburg Police Chief, Michael Dove, delivered the keynote address. Summit moderators ranged from superintendents, state legislators, to safety professionals. Representatives from Indiana’s safety industry also showcased their new technologies to the participants.
Rep. Rokita’s office will publish a summary of Friday’s discussion that will include content from the breakout sessions as well as participant feedback so that schools statewide can take advantage of the Summit discussion.