FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — A third gun in less than two weeks was brought onto a FWCS school property on Monday.
The gun was found at North Side High School. That incident follows guns being found at Wayne High School and the playground of Haley Elementary School.
While all three cases resulted in students doing the right thing and reporting seeing something out of the ordinary, leading to no further threats, the district’s director of communication and marketing, Krista Stockman, called it a “very concerning” trend the district doesn’t want to see continue.
Stockman said the problem isn’t just a school issue and needs to be worked on as a community.
“If students are able to access guns, they’re not getting those at school, even if they’re bringing them to school. So, we need to figure out what’s going on in our community that children are able to access weapons,” she said.
This involves the district leaning on parents, encouraging them to talk with their kids, especially younger ones, about what is and isn’t appropriate to take to school.
“I would just remind parents that they have far more influence than they think on what their children do,” Stockman said. “Be aware of where they’re at, who they’re hanging out with, and what they may have access to.”
So far, training has worked. With students doing the right thing and having trusted adults at their school who they can talk to when they see a firearm or anything else out of the ordinary, pushing that message is something the district wants to continue, Stockman said.
“This is something that we have talked about for a long time. Fort Wayne Community Schools is a district that has never taken for granted that things could happen at school. A lot of times after a tragedy at a school, people say ‘We never though it could happen here.’ We have never gone into a school day with that attitude. We know that every day we need to be vigilant. We ask our students to be vigilant because they see and hear things that adults don’t,” she explained.
While relying on students to keep an eye on their peers is a big part of it, Stockman said FWCS will continue to look at ways to beef up security at school. The trick is balancing having a welcoming environment with student safety.
“Certainly, we are having conversations about ‘OK, what do we need to do? Do we have the right security measures in place? Is there something more we can do?’ We also don’t want our schools to feel like prisons to our students. This is a place where, for a lot of our students, this is the safest place they are at all day,“ Stockman said.
If there will be any added security measures, those are changes Stockman said they won’t be announcing right now. The district’s security team will continue to evaluate their own system and look at what other districts have in place.
According to Stockman, FWCS is also communicating with other city leaders to find ways to collaborate on initiatives aimed at keeping guns out of kids’ hands.
In the meantime, Stockman said they’re continuing to ask students, staff, and families to remain vigilant.
- FWCS: Student brought handgun to North Side High School
- Gun found at Fort Wayne school playground
- FWCS says student brought a gun to Wayne High School
Wane 15 also spoke with the Director of Homeland Security of Allen County, Bernie Beier and he explained how the relationship between the students and staff are a big reason why situations have been handled quickly.
“What we are seeing today and this past week it relates to guns on campuses I think it might also be representing something that is working well,” Beier said. “Students are reporting whether it is a kindergarten student or an entry level student on the playground or a high school student if it’s something they find or something they hear that see something say something,” said Beier.