WELLS COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) – Similar to Fort Wayne Community School’s safety referendum, Bluffton-Harrison M.S.D. is pushing for a safety security referendum of its own. The discussion for a safety security referendum for Bluffton-Harrison started a year ago with their school board.
Currently, Bluffton-Harrison has one Student Resource Officer for three buildings (Elementary, Middle, and High Schools). With funding, their hope is to provide two more SRO’s, so each building can have one. According to the drawn out plan from the district, adding two SRO’s would provide a proactive approach to relationship building within each school and each student.
Next, Bluffton-Harrison would like add a mental health counselor, the district believes this would be a great continuation of their current pilot program from the Lily Counseling Grant. A mental health counselor would alleviate some of the strain on school counselors by providing Tier 3 support.
“Our tier 1 level would be programming provided by our guidance counselors, we have two guidance counselors at each of our buildings,” said Brad Yates, Superintendent, Ph.D.. “Then we have that Tier 2 group that would be the students that need a little more help in how to be a good citizen in the classroom.” “Tier 3 they are typically individuals that have been exposed to some sort of trauma or have some sort of major issue in their life that is creating a dysregulation for them.”
Finally, Bluffton-Harrison is pushing for safety/security equipment and safety/security training. For equipment, the district would include additional security cameras, a visitor management system, and vape sensors. Yates explained how vaping has been a recent issue in their schools.
“We have seen an up tick in our expulsions primarily due to vaping,” said Yates. “One area we are looking to address with the safety referendum is training and support not only for students but our community in the areas of addiction or usage of substances.”
The district says they have received positive feedback from the community, parents, and students.
“I’ve done my best to educate our community on what the referendum means and what we will be using those dollars for as it is only for the areas for school safety ,” Yates explained.
Bluffton-Harrison has a link to where area taxpayers can calculate the estimated impact of the proposed school’s safety security referendum.
This referendum will be on the November 7. ballot in two weeks.