The Vigo County School Board unanimously passed a measure that would allow all of the corporation's schools. Terre Haute Police Chief John Plasse and the Vigo County Sheriff Greg Ewing developed a plan to put a police officer in all Vigo County School Corporations schools by the end of the school year. Ewing and Plasse announced their plan at Monday night's school board meeting.
Members of the Vigo County Council will need to vote on the measure also. Chief Plasse stated that the plan will cost the district about $200,00 yearly. He hopes to have the officers in place in the schools by Mid-March or April. The Terre Haute Police Department will cover the schools within Terre Haute, and\the Vigo County sheriff's department will place deputies in the corporation's rural schools..
Parents and school officials packed the VCSC building to show their support for the officer's proposal. Supporters believe that an armed officer serves as a deterrent. Plasse and the Vigo County sheriff received standing ovations during the meeting. Many VCSC principals came forth and told stories of how students reacted after the Sandy Hook Elementary school shootings.
Although the plan put before the council focuses on providing extra security, the board did not ignore mental health issues. Mel Burks added that that the school corporation needs to make sure it is addressing mental health problems. Judy Lower said that many teachers report possible mental health issues to counselors, deans and the school nurses. Lower made her comments after the meeting. Representatives of Hamilton Center attended the meeting, although they only added that they planned to hold a meeting discussing mental health issues on the 21.
Chief Plasse added that it was important to keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have them, and he acknowledged that it was often too late to deal with mental health issues by the time police get involved.