IPS meet to discuss safety after week of violence

(WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis Public officials are discussing safety standards at the district’s middle and high schools. This comes a week after video surfaced online showing a male student beating up a female student.

The meeting was a private, closed-door meeting. IPS officials say they’re working to draft a district-wide student code of conduct which would explain the rights and responsibilities of students. It is also expected to explain how administrators should respond to unacceptable behavior.

Julian Coleman retired as Northwest High’s principal in 1992.  He worked for IPS for 36 years. Coleman was shocked to learn about three fights that broke out at Northwest in just one day last week. The level of violence, coupled with the public spectacle, are a stark contrast to when Coleman was in charge.

“We didn’t tolerate swearing, and we didn’t tolerate fighting and we didn’t tolerate bullying. The teachers knew that if they disciplined a student that administration and the deans would be backing them,” said Coleman.

Some of the issues IPS identified are:

  • Teachers feeling ill-prepared to deal with student aggression
  • Unclear or inconsistent police and procedures
  • Student witnesses not feeling empowered
  • Students responding inappropriately to situations
  • Social media environment driving negative behaviors

The Indiana State Teachers Association said the resolution needs to involve not just schools, but students and their parents. ISTA also stressed the importance of social media education.

“There are some of them that have some kind of social media experience that occurred prior to that actual fight. So, I think we need to become more aware of the kinds of things that are going on on social media with our students,” said ISTA president Teresa Meredith.

Coleman blames in part, problems at home. He also has an old fashioned solution to the problem.

“I used the paddle. But I don’t know…I’d say we should bring it back,” said Coleman.

ISTA said banning cell phones and devices that record video is a consideration. However, they believe it’ll be tough to enforce, particularly with electronics getting smaller.

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