Rise in firearms on school grounds in central Indiana sparks concern

Indianapolis, Indiana – Multiple instances of students possessing firearms or related items on central Indiana school premises have been reported.

These instances involve a broad age range, from a young student in the Clark-Pleasant Community Schools district to several high school attendees in Marion County.

State statistics indicate a growing trend of students bringing firearms to school, prompting concerns about student safety and access to firearms among the young demographic.

Local professionals working with at-risk youth in Indianapolis’ high-crime sectors suggest that this problem has escalated over the years. Anthony Beverly, the head of Stop the Violence Indianapolis, an organization focused on uplifting youth from challenging urban areas, remarked, “It’s to the point where even our college-bound students are protecting themselves.”

Clinical psychologist Valerie McCray, who offers guidance to youth within the aforementioned organization, voiced her concerns regarding the readiness of schools to equip students for post-academic life. “These kids are not being prepared for life,” noted McCray, who is also pursuing a Democratic U.S. Senate seat. She further emphasized, “These are young men who mature rapidly yet lack corresponding life skills, resorting instead to firearms and street-smart adaptability.”

This academic year alone, two incidents involved Indianapolis students possessing firearms equipped with machine gun conversion devices, colloquially termed as a Glock switch. Such episodes transpired at North Central High School and with two students at KIPP Legacy High School.

Devin Murrell, an associate of the Stop the Violence Indianapolis initiative, opined to the IndyStar that youth arm themselves for personal security and social validation. He indicated popular culture, including music and social media, as significant influencers, stating, “That’s what kids see as cool nowadays.”

In a separate incident, a Warren Township student was apprehended for brandishing a firearm on school property, discovered due to photos circulated among peers on social platforms. Upon interrogation, the student revealed borrowing the firearm from an acquaintance, drawn to its aesthetic appeal, as per a probable cause affidavit.

Moreover, a student at Sidener Academy for High Ability Students within the Indianapolis Public Schools district was discovered with an unloaded gun magazine. This institution, serving grades two through eight, is the district’s most academically accomplished.

Reports of firearms on Marion County school grounds have seen an uptick. Data from the Indiana Department of Education shows the number of incidents where students faced disciplinary actions for firearm possession at school surged to 57 last year, up from an average of 40 annually between 2018 and 2020.

Although state regulations explicitly forbid firearms on school properties, Beverly attributes the recent surge to Indiana’s permit-less firearm carry law, effective for just over a year. He commented on the youth’s perception, noting, “(The youth) think that it’s okay now, that everybody can have a gun.”

Consequently, students such as Lawrence Central High School’s senior, Kai Clements, are re-evaluating their school environment. Clements expressed to IndyStar, “Instead of just continuing to focus on my educational goals, I have to be thinking about what I can do for safety.”

Roderick Mccormick

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