FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – South Side High School is now serving as a site for safety. This includes a portable weapon detection system, student advocates, and the Alive Peacemaker program. The pilot began in August, Fort Wayne Community Schools now has data to show how the three safety initiatives are working together.
The data below compares the first 40 days of school of the 2022-2023 to 2023-2024 at South Side:
- Tardiness: 89%
- Cutting Class: 25%
- Guns: 100%
- Fighting: 31%
- Disruptive Conduct: 19%
- Average F’s per Student: 36%
- Enrollment: 6%
The weapon detection system works as each student will enter through doors one and six, then hand student advocates their laptops before they walk through. If not, the detector goes off and the student advocates go through the students’ backpacks.
“So their job throughout the day takes on many facets,” said Zachary Haul, South Side Principal. “Building relationships with the kids working with our teachers it might be a classroom they get called to a student just needs to take a walk, needs somebody to talk to, maybe a situation is arising at home or even here in the building.”
The other piece to the improved safety at South Side is the Peacemakers program. This program is led by Alive Community Outreach and students of South Side. Alive Community Outreach is a local nonprofit addressing nonviolence, conflict resolution, and peacemaking.
During the summer months, they held a Peacemaker academy for students who were interested in becoming leaders for the program. The Peacemakers were then able to develop a plan that would bring a culture of peace to South Side. Any student is welcome to join.
“We talk about with violence and nonviolence you got to work on the internal violence as well as the external violence,” said Chis Lahr, Peacemaker at South Side High School. “External violence is a reflection of what’s happening on the inside and we have been able to give many opportunities for some of the kids that have struggled the most to come in and have a place to have their voices heard.”
The Peace Club meets every Thursday right after school.
Fort Wayne Community Schools is hopeful this will expand to each of their high schools. That is if voters will agree to raise taxes through their safety referendum – that is on the November ballot.