Infamous: Positively Famous

Infamous - Positively FamousPeople, listen!  We have real, live rock stars walking amongst us, here in Fishers.  They are wickedly talented, amazingly bright and they come in the form of sophomores and juniors at Fishers High School.  They are a five member metal band named Infamous.  I am telling you, though, their notoriety is, and will be, positively famous.

The band was formed 3 years ago, when the boys were merely 7th and 8th graders.  When asked how they decided to play music, they replied, “We got hooked on Guitar Hero and that’s what got us started.”

Jon Iosue (pronounced Yozway) is a sophomore, the lead guitarist and the only band member to continue taking guitar lessons, which he has done for the last five years.  His dad, Mike Iosue is their manager.  The band holds practices, once or twice a week for a few hours, in their basement which, fortunately, has a double-insulated ceiling.

Jack Rainbolt lives a few doors down from Jon, so they grew up, together.  He is a junior and plays rhythm guitar with the band.  In all of his spare time (right!), he works at Goodwill.  He started playing the guitar at age 12, taking lessons at Bongo Boys with Jon for a few years.

Drew Johnson is a sophomore and plays the drums.  In addition, he works at the Hamilton 16 Imax Theater.  He was taught to play the drums by his dad when he was only 4 years old.  He would sit on his dad’s lap in front the drums, with sticks in his hands, following his father‘s rhythm.  Now, he is such an accomplished drummer, using multiple drum sticks for varying sounds, that at the end of a set, before the guitars have ended their reverberations, he is checking his cell phone messages.

Adam Anderson, is a sophomore and the lead vocalist.  He used to also play bass, but now just focuses on vocals.  “I felt myself growing and wanted to do more with it live by interacting more with the audience,” states Adam.  He has 7 years of guitar/bass lessons and three years of vocal lessons, which he just recently ended.

Spencer Tillman is a junior and the newest member of the band, joining the group December 8th.  He is the bassist and backup vocalist and also holds a job at Little Caesar’s Pizza.  While he is new to the band, he isn’t new to the boys.  They’ve been friends for a few years.  He is a self-taught guitar player, only once taking advanced lessons for three months.  Prior to this he played for another band.

When the boys aren’t doing tough-looking poses for promotional pictures or concerts, they are smiley and genuinely seem happy.  Their music is definitely in the metal genre, but the lyrics speak to positive causes: anti-bullying, equality, and believing in and standing up for yourself.  These are lyrics the boys write together, themselves, from personal experiences.  They sit down for what might be called “brainstorming sessions” and build on each other’s musical ideas.

Not only is their music smart, but their grades reflect how intelligent and hard working each band member is at FHS, too.  However, when asked about college, they are all pretty clear that they really want to make music their careers and focus on their band.  The juniors, Jack and Spencer are looking at colleges, but more as a backup plan.  “I’ll go to college, but if we get a record deal, I’ll drop out,” says Jack.

Mike Iosue became their manager, indirectly, by being Jon’s youth basketball coach.  “We thought Jon was going to be a basketball player, but that’s just not Jon.  This is what he is,” explains Laura, Mike’s wife and Jon’s mom.  So Mike decided to be his “coach” for the band, helping the boys navigate through all that is involved.  “You don’t want your kids to just succeed as a guitar player, but as a man,” states Laura.

Currently, the band is working with Jon E. Gee, the bassist for John Mellencamp since 1999 and before that, for Ted Nugent.  He has been mentoring the group since September and helping them to “tighten up the music, making it sound better/more interesting,” say the band mates.  The boys enjoy his insight and like that he “says what he thinks and doesn’t hold back.”  John E. Gee thinks: “They have the ability to make it big.”

They are ALREADY making it big.  Infamous walked away with SEVEN awards at the Best of the Best: Indy’s Local Music Awards in March 2012, including Best Overall Band, Best Metal Band and Best of each: Vocals, Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Bass Guitar, Drummer.  A month later, they won First Place in the Gorilla Music Battle of the Bands.  They released their first EP (Extended Play … a CD that is 30 minutes or less) in September, 2012, entitled “Hold Your Apathy.”  This past summer, they performed at Rockapalooza in Michigan.  This event gained them quite a few fans, some of whom even followed them to Indiana to see them play at Metal Fest.  Just recently, they opened for Saving Abel in Toledo, OH.

Infamous is preparing to release their 7 track, second EP entitled “Inspire Yourself” in May, which includes the guest vocalist Spencer Charmas from Ice Nine Kills.  They will hold a CD Release Show on May 2nd at 6:30 pm at Studio 37, which is located inside The Music Academy in Fishers (10029 E. 126th Street, Suite D).  Everyone is welcome and tickets are $10 presale or $12 at the door.  On June 21st Infamous will be at the MegaTon Music Festival in Toledo, OH, performing main stage at approximately 7 pm.  More appearances are being scheduled as you read this, so be sure to check these sites for shows, EP sales and information:    http://www.InfamousTheBand.com www.facebook.com/InfamousTheBand

You can purchase their EP’s at the following locations: iTunes, CDBaby (Amazon), Luna Music, Axis Mundi, or Indy CD and Vinyl.  Get a piece of this amazing group of local boys, now, while they are still local … and still boys.

 

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HSEHS International Night

World Connections Club of Hamilton Southeastern High School will celebrate “International Night: A Taste of the Diversity of Fishers” on March 14. It will showcase the talents, food and cultures of HSEHS students and their families. The event will begin in Leonard Auditorium at 7 p.m. with music and dance acts from around the world, followed by a sampling of international cuisine and informational booths on foreign nations. Tickets will be sold for $6 at lunch at HSE High School and at the door. For more information, contact Vickie Lazaga at vlazaga.hse.k12.in.us.

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HSE Board selects Stevenson to fill Fall Creek Township seat

At its Jan. 13 board meeting, the Hamilton Southeastern Board of School Trustees appointed attorney Howard L. Stevenson to represent Fall Creek Township. Stevenson has lived in the community 15 years with his wife, Christa, and three sons. In his application, he said, “I am a strong proponent of public education, and I want to use my efforts to champion the cause of public education. All of my educational pursuits have been in the public school arena starting with my elementary school days and continuing through law school.”

He has his B.A. from Indiana University and his J.D. degree from Indiana University School of Law in Indianapolis. He is currently managing partner of the law firm Coleman Stevenson LLP and concentrates his practice in the areas of business law, real estate, civil litigation and municipal finance.

“We were fortunate to have 35 highly qualified individuals come forward and offer to serve in the Fall Creek Township Board seat,” said board member Katrina Hockemeyer. “The selection process was extensive and involved two rounds of interviews. Howard Stevenson’s experience in his profession and as an HSE parent brings relevant knowledge and valuable perspective that will lend itself well to the ongoing work of the board.”

Stevenson sees the district’s greatest challenge as “continuing to provide teachers and administrators with the tools and resources they need to ensure the success of all of our students in a fast growing, diverse school district despite receiving a reduction in school funding.” He feels other important issues are maintaining effective class sizes and narrowing the gap between minority students and the general student body. He believes board members “should have the best interest of the students as the primary focal point. All votes rendered and policies and procedures implemented should pass the test of ‘how does this benefit or advance the cause of our students?’”

He sees board members as liaisons, and they should engage and solicit information and insight from the community members. “Service on the school board is a vital component for a successful school district. It takes a collaborative effort from teachers, parents, board members, administrators, students and community stakeholders,” said Stevenson. “When they are effectively working together, there is no limit to the students’ success.”

His other board/committee experience includes serving as superintendent of Sunday Church School for Eastern Star Church; on the board of directors for HSE Youth Basketball; on the board of managers for the YMCA, Ransburg Branch, in Indianapolis; and as general counsel for the Indiana Stadium and Convention Building Authority in Indianapolis. Previously he was managing attorney for the Indiana Department of Transportation, general counsel for the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration and section chief for the Office of the Attorney General of Indiana.

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Girls Lacrosse: Unstoppable and Rising Quickly

Many young female athletes typically turn to basketball, soccer, gymnastics and tennis. Those who excel at their given sport try to play at the college level, hoping to land a scholarship. Yet lacrosse (sometimes abbreviated to lax) is gaining national attention. In fact, the NCAA recently stated in its Annual Participation Report that lacrosse is the fastest growing college sport.

“There is a huge opportunity right now for girls trying to earn collegiate scholarships in lacrosse,” says Marty Miller, President of the HSE/Fishers Girls Lacrosse Program. “This opportunity is apparent not only because of Title IX [educational amendments of 1972 requiring that women’s sports offer an equal number of scholarships as men’s sports] but also because its popularity continues to grow more and more.”

Although the modern women’s lacrosse game first began in 1890 at St. Leonard’s School in Scotland, this budding sport continues to gain national fame for women. Lacrosse resembles basketball in the grass, only each team consisting of 12 players tries to score a goal using a rubber ball and a lacrosse stick or racquet.

Calling Girls of all Skill Levels in Grades 5-12 Girls lacrosse in Fishers is a club sport (through S.P.O.R.T.S.) made up of players from both HSE and Fishers schools combined into one team.  (fishersgirlslax.usl.la)

Teams are made from among two age groups: high school (grades 9-12) and youth (grades 5-8). If you were unable to attend the Spring Call-Out Meeting December 2, don’t worry. It isn’t too late to play this spring sport.  Email: hsefishersgirlslax@gmail.com with any questions.

“Our goal is to double the program to 160 female lacrosse players from last year,” says Miller. “At the high school level, evaluations are held to place players into varsity or junior varsity teams with no cuts.”

The first practice is January 6 (indoors). Miller invites you to bring your friends to discover the opportunity that awaits you for playing lacrosse, whether you are playing in the off-season to help enhance your skills in another sport (e.g., developing eye-hand coordination for softball) or trying to further prepare yourself for a prospective collegiate scholarship.

Pioneering the Way for Future Players Some of the HSE/Fishers High School lacrosse players are also members of the Predators Lacrosse Club. These girls are proving their extreme talent as they travel around the country for big showcase events. Since September 2012, they have competed in 17 events. They won the University of Louisville 5v5 Tournament, Marquette University 5v5 Event and finished 2nd in Notre Dame’s 5v5 Event. They also won the Midwest Showcase in Chicago at Loyola Academy, Six Flags Classic and the Chi Town Classic this past fall. They finished 2nd in their pool at the IWLCA President’s Cup against U.S. and Canadian teams this past November in Orlando.

This elite team includes players from these high schools: HSE/Fishers High School (9), Carmel (6), Mooresville (1), Westfield (1), Sacred Heart (2) and Culver Academy (1). The nine players from HSE/Fishers on the Elite team are being recruited by Division 1, 2 and 3 schools. Five of these players are being recruited by D1 programs.

“The reason why we named the club team the Predators Lacrosse Club is that we did not want Indy or Indiana in our name because Indiana is an undeveloped lacrosse market that is not recognized for strong lacrosse players,” says Mark Gricius, assistant coach HSE/Fishers Girls Varsity Lacrosse and co-founder/head coach of the Predators. “Every event that we attend, no matter where it is, we always hear from other teams’ parents, college coaches and referees, ‘Who are you? Where are you from?’ When we tell them we are from the Indianapolis area, their response is, ‘Really?!’”

Lacrosse Clinics “It’s just a matter of time before people realize that Indiana has a lot of talent with girls lacrosse,” says Mary Handrahan, head coach of HSE/Fishers Girls Lacrosse Team. Mary recalls how her mom pushed her to try a lacrosse clinic while growing up in Chicago. Mary loved it so much, she played it in high school and college. She says, “You never know until you try it. Once you do, you’ll realize it’s the best sport because it’s challenging and fun!”

HSE/Fishers Girls lacrosse will be hosting a FREE clinic for any youth who has an interest in trying lacrosse. The date is February 1 from 2-4 pm at SPARTA (10080 E. 121st St., Suite 157, Fishers). Contact Rex Holliday at rbholliday@comcast.net or go to hsefishersgirlslax.com for more information.

Predators Lacrosse also holds beginning, intermediate and advanced clinics throughout the year. Contact Mark Gricius at mgricius@predatorslax.com with any questions or visit predatorslax.com.

Sidebar: Here are two short clips of the Predators Lacrosse Team. One is the girls at Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom’s Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas after their first game at the President’s Cup this past November, and the other is the highlights of the semi-final game vs. Loyola Academy and the championship game at the Midwest Showcase against a National Team.

https://vimeo.com/79924572  Highlights of the Midwest Showcase

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Egg Drop Experiment: Rite of Passage

Egg Drop In ActionDo not adjust your computer. This is not a scene as depicted in an episode of ABC’s Modern Family. This is real life. Eggs will be dropped from various heights around your house. Trips to the hardware store will be necessary, or if you’re lucky, just a trip to the drugstore or even the attic. The EGG DROP EXPERIMENT is being assigned to Hamilton Southeastern eighth grade science students. When put together in a sentence, these three simple words can elicit quite a curious response.

After all, not a lot of positive imagery comes from dropping a raw egg nor is much experimentation required to find out what happens. But as many local parents know, this rite of passage for our eighth grade students becomes quite a brainteaser for the entire family, the entire Modern Family…

While the concept is simple, the restrictions governing the experiment are not. Students must design a carrier to safely protect a raw egg from the effects of being dropped 6.2 meters off the football field bleachers. Three separate layers of protection must be used with the most obvious padding items (cotton, marshmallows and bubble wrap) forbidden. The mass of the carrier also must be considered with points being awarded for both lighter and heavier weighted carriers.

Hamilton Southeastern Junior High (HSJH) completed their egg drop experiment in September. Eighth grade Science Teacher Eric Brown hopes the age old experiment will create a love of science in his students. “The scientific method is a way of thinking that can solve most any problem, even something as silly as how to protect a falling egg.” Brown who completed his own egg drop carrier in eighth grade admits that food products and the creative use of chicken wire are some shockingly effective insulators.

Dog feces in leaves did prove to be an effective egg carrier for one former Fishers Junior High (FJH) student. “It is certainly not permissible today,” assures FJH Science Teacher John Schwoeppe. He along with Riverside Junior High will be conducting their Egg Drop Experiment in the spring. Schwoeppe hopes that students see the relationship between developing their design and how it relates to Newton’s Laws of Motion.

“The most fun part about the egg drop was right after you dropped it. You go over to it and open it so slowly with anticipation, questioning whether it survived or broke,” offers HSJH eighth grade student Emma Hendricks, a student in Ms. Caitlin McKee’s class. Her egg did in fact survive the drop intact, and Hendricks was credited with the original idea of surrounding her egg in homemade Play-Doh!

Some of you are breathing a sigh of relief that those days are long past as your children have safely entered high school and beyond. Others may be smiling as memories resurface of the vain attempts to keep the egg in tact from the 6.2 meter drop. It can be a comedic but very educational experience quite worthy of a sitcom episode.

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V’s Barbershop Supporting the Community in an Unusual Way

Michael Anderson shapes Tyler's Mohawk

Michael Anderson shapes Tyler’s Mohawk

For the 3rd consecutive year, V’s Barbershop has done their part to provide community support in rather unusual way.  The week prior to sectionals, the HSE football team has created a tradition in which the seniors sport a mohawk in preparation of the game.  Some might wear it better than others; however, there is no doubt their commitment to the team after they leave the barber chair.  Chad Renbarger, owner of V’s Barbershop, provides the haircuts to the team at no charge.  When asked how it all got started he replied, “We were looking for a creative way to show support for the community in which we live and work and when this opportunity presented itself, it seemed like a natural fit.”  So if you happen to notice an unusually large number of mohawk haircuts this time to year you can be certain of two things…sectionals for the HSE varsity football team is close and you have V’s Barbershop to thank for helping the boys demonstrate their team loyalty.

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Taking Action: Bullying in Our Schools

Bullying in Our SchoolsHave you ever been concerned your child was a victim of bullying? Bullying is a major issue for today’s youth, but the term “bully” is difficult to define. According to the stopbullying.gov website, “Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated or has the potential to be repeated over time.”

Perhaps the reason the term is so difficult to define is the fact that bullies come in all shapes and sizes and bully in a variety of ways. There are at least three types of bullying prevalent today:

1. Physical bullying – using force or action to demean someone (e.g., hitting, kicking, pushing, stealing)

2. Verbal bullying – using words to demean someone (e.g., name calling, teasing, insulting)

3. Cyberbullying – using technology to demean someone (e.g., bullying through texting, e-mail, Facebook)

Today children are not only bullied in school or on the playground, many are also bullied at home through various technological outlets. As bullying becomes increasingly more pervasive through technology, the harmful effects seem magnified. Almost weekly, the news highlights a story of a child withdrawing from school and family, seeking counseling, and in extreme cases, taking his/her own life as the result of being bullied. Oftentimes, the parents of these children were unaware their child was a victim of bullying.

To avoid finding yourself in a similar position, be mindful of the following signs that your child is being bullied: unexplained injuries, loss of or destruction of clothing or personal belongings, frequent illnesses, changes in eating habits, difficulty sleeping, loss of interest in school, decreased self-esteem and/or self-destructive behaviors, such as running away or talking about harming themselves.

If you recognize a bullying situation, take action immediately. First, talk with your child; let them know you are there to support them and that it is not his/her fault. Then address the bullying behavior and take the necessary steps to resolve the situation, from developing a plan to deal with the bully to getting your child additional support if necessary. It is important to be aware that bullying affects everyone involved, including the bully, victim and bystanders.

The staff at Fall Creek Elementary takes a proactive approach. “We teach our students to treat each other with kindness and respect,” says Principal Amy Jackson. “We teach them to look for the good in others and to value each other’s differences.”

“Students also know that it is a powerful thing to speak out. Students can use their words to stand up for themselves and to tell a teacher or other adult at school in order to help them or others stay safe.” Together we can all make a difference by taking the time to watch and listen to our children and taking action. For more information on bullying, visit stopbullying.gov.

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Black and Blue Bash

The Hamilton Southeastern High School Royals Varsity Club (RVC) is replacing its annual spring fundraising Gala with a new Black & Blue Bash in November.

The Black & Blue Bash will be the RVC’s main event this school year and will be a more casual gathering than the Gala with lots of time for socializing. There will still be auction items but in a limited number with more geared toward adult outings and activities. Co-Athletic Director Jim Self will continue his popular position as auctioneer, reminding attendees (and bidders) that it is “for the kids!”

Auction items will include a Colorado time share, senior picture photo session, Geist pontoon party package, hotel getaways, electronics and much more.

The Black & Blue Bash will be held Saturday, November 9th at 6 pm at the Hilton Indianapolis North, 8181 N. Shadeland Ave., and will also feature a brief keynote speaker, dinner and DJ.

“We hope the new, late fall date will allow more Royal supporters to attend as our spring date became overwhelmed by student athletic events,” said RVC President Tina Mudd. “We are also trying a less formal event this year in response to some RVC member suggestions.”

You do not need to be a RVC member or parent of an HSE High School student to attend. “This is a great opportunity for fun, fellowship and fundraising benefiting the HSE High School athletic programs,” said event Chair Carol McCormack. “We have had wonderful success with our past Gala events where monies raised helped equip the new HSE weight room, purchased greatly-needed cardio equipment that is especially helpful in rehabbing injured athletes and allowed us to give $500 to each of the 23 sports at HSE High School,” said Co-Athletic Director Greg Habegger.

Black & Blue Bash reservations can be made at www.RoyalsVarsityClub.org. Single tickets are $75, and tables of 10 are $1,000 per table and include special perks. The reservation deadline is November 1. Corporate and personal sponsorships for the event are also available. For details, contact Carol McCormack at carolmack@comcast.net or 317-841-0740.

The RVC is a group of parents, community members, athletes, coaches, faculty, staff and alumni dedicated to the support, encouragement and advancement of the athletic programs at HSE High School. RVC directly assists HSE athletes, coaches, and booster clubs.

Everyone is invited to become a member of the RVC. You do not need to have an HSE athlete or even be an HSE High School family to join. Annual memberships have a variety of levels with which to participate. RVC membership forms can also be found at http://www.royalsvarsityclub.org/membership.html.

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HSE Teachers of Year

Cumberland Road Elementary School teacher Meg Strnat was selected for 2013 Hamilton Southeastern (HSE) District Teacher of the Year.  Strnat, a 4th grade teacher in the High Ability program, has taught for nine years as a second career. She has won many awards, including National Science Educator Finalist, 2013 HSE High School Most Inspiring Teacher and was also just announced as a Top 10 finalist for State Teacher of the Year.

Strnat says the kids make teaching worthwhile. She enjoys setting an environment where kids who are ready can take the challenge. This creates independent learners who are not only involved in their learning process, but are making their own choices and setting the pace. She enjoys this collaborative problem-based and project-based method of teaching.

Each of the 20 HSE schools also chose a Teacher of the Year. The teachers were lined up and ready for their public recognition at the Fishers/HSE football game in August, but a severe weather delay resulted in evacuation of the stadium.

HSE Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian Smith said, “Our teachers of the year are high performers and great role models with positive attitudes and strong work ethics. They are well versed in their subject areas, know how to make learning fun and motivate students. They influence children’s lives.”

HSE Teachers of The YearWe now congratulate them all for being such wonderful forces for our children each and every day!

  • Maria Kussy Brooks School Elementary
  • Meg Strnat Cumberland Road Elementary
  • Suzanne Miksha Durbin Elementary
  • Marna Meyer Fall Creek Elementary
  • Geoff Godbout Fall Creek Intermediate
  • Jessica Renner Fishers Elementary
  • Gretchen Shafer Fishers High School
  • Donna Schiele Fishers Junior High
  • Debbie Kappus Geist Elementary
  • Tara Bertram Harrison Parkway Elementary
  • Amber Harling Hoosier Road Elementary
  • David Young HSE High School and Freshman Center
  • Tim Latimer HSE Junior High
  • Jennifer Kelham Lantern Road Elementary
  • Kathy Foster New Britton Elementary
  • Kristyn Hamm Riverside Intermediate
  • Chris Graves Riverside Junior High
  • Kathy May Sand Creek Elementary
  • Annette Probst Sand Creek Intermediate
  • Leslie Hopper Thorpe Creek Elementary
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Preventive Medicine: Teaching Kids About School Violence & Safety

School Safety 2Many of us have a nighttime routine we do with our children. My routine with our seven-year-old daughter is going into her room after daddy leaves to talk about what happened during her day. Usually our talks are about a frog dying in her classroom, or the amazing art project she is working on at school. One night during this past school year she said, “Mommy, we had a drill today!” “A drill? What type of drill?” was my response. Thinking that it might be a fire drill or tornado drill, my mind wondered what made her bring this up out of the blue. “It was a drill that involves a bad man coming into our school,” she replied.

My heart stopped, flipped around inside and then sank. After the horrible tragedy that happened at Sandy Hook, I had taken it upon myself to go over what I thought she should do if such an event should happen at her school. One of the scenarios I spoke to her about was to stay hidden until she hears my voice calling out for her. Not a policeman’s voice, not a teacher’s voice, but my voice.

She then continued to tell me about the drill. “Mommy, if a bad man broke into our school, I won’t come out of my hiding spot until I hear your voice calling for me even if it means I pee my pants while I wait for you. I can’t tell you my spot Mommy, but I know you will come for me.” I squeezed her extra tight and gave her a kiss and said, “That is exactly what I want you to do, baby.” We said our goodnights and argued over who loves who more. I closed the door then collapsed to my knees losing control of the tears and sobs I had held inside.

Many times since that conversation, I have wondered what goes on during these drills. I understand the need for secrecy but my curiosity could not be quelled. Then one day, I received an email from the Fishers Area Preschool Directors Group informing me of their upcoming meeting on preschool safety. As many of my readers know, I have one kid in elementary school and one in preschool. I jumped at the chance to attend this meeting.

First to speak was Ryan Taylor, HSE Safe Schools Coordinator and Assistant Principal of Fishers High School. His focus was on communication and access control of the aggressors. He taught the three D’s of optimizing the safety in our schools: Detect, Deter, and Delay. Using technology that most schools have in place, front desk staff can get a good read on the people entering and exiting the schools. Keeping communication a priority during all hours of the the school day empowers the staff to feel prepared. By empowering the staff with knowledge of what to do in a crisis, you can save the lives of the children with whom you have been entrusted.

Captain Ron Lipps, Captain of the Life Safety Division with the Fishers Fire and Emergency Services, spoke next. He helps schools/preschools with their emergency plans, and makes sure all building inspections are up to date. Ron encouraged everyone to read the emergency protocols – before a crisis happens (it’s too late to read it while the crisis is in progress.) Ron also emphasized that all emergency plans be reviewed by local authorities. This will ensure that they are correct, and that the local authorities know about you and your location. This is especially important for the private preschools and daycares. Practice drills as though they are playing a game so that in the event of a real emergency the children do not panic.  During these drills, change up the scenario a bit.  Have the fire start in a different place each time.  This will help teachers and children to know what to do and how to react in case their exit is blocked.

The final presenter of the discussion was Lt Mike Johnson, School Resource Operator with the Fishers Police Department. His part was powerful. He explained what the kids are boing taught, and went step by step through what an active killer drill includes for all ages, including preschoolers. He emphasized not to scare preschool children with too much information. The most important part is to teach them to listen in an emergency situation.

School Safety 3Preschool lockdown drills are completely different than those for higher grade levels. For security reasons, I won’t reveal details about what I learned, but was overwhelmed by what our children are being taught to survive. I forced an image of my daughter doing some of these actions. My emotions from the night of our original talk flooded back to me. When I was growing up our biggest worry was getting the car windows soaped. These babies are worried about dying at the hands of an active killer.

While I wish there was no reason for Taylor, Lipps and Johnson to have such a job, I am glad these men put their hearts and souls into keeping our children safe. Saying a simple “thank you” just isn’t enough to suit me. Having met these men, and knowing how they’re spreading the word for HSE schools and preschools to adopt safety measures warms my heart. I hope that sharing this story expresses how much I appreciate them. Since my conversation with my daughter, I now know that these officials are going to our schools and discussing appropriate ways to talk to our children during these drills.  The older the children, the more knowledge the children receive. The younger the child, the less scary details he or she receives.  There is no value in scaring a seven year old with too many details. Indeed, it could have the opposite effect causing them to freeze and not listen, perhaps even panic.

Statistics show how slight the chance is of a child being killed by an active shooter. However, such statistics are no reason not to be prepared. For more than two hours, these men taught us how they are helping keep our children safe while at school. The next time my daughter asks me about bad men at school, I will share the knowledge shared by these three dedicated men, and tell her to follow their lead.

Will the fear ever leave? Probably not. But, I can help our children by teaching my child what to do in a crisis situation, and she in turn will share with her friends.

Tips on talking with your child about emergency situations

1. First and foremost, do not scare your child.  The younger the child is, the more important this tip is.

2. Talk to your child about how there isn’t a single plan that covers all emergencies.  Tornado drills will have a different plan than a fire drill. An active killer drill will have yet another plan.

3. Talk to your child about listening to the teacher.  Listening can save lives!

4. If you see something, say something to an adult.  Students are the eyes and ears of the school.  If something seems odd, encourage your child to seek out an adult to share the information with.

5. Let your child talk about his/her feelings.  Talking about being scared or feeling cowardly is not an easy topic.  Be there for your child.  Just being there and being a support system will be taken to heart by your child.

Please note that Ryan Taylor does not necessarily want you to approach your child about active killer situations, but having a plan about what to say in case they bring it up is highly recommended.

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