Behind TSC’s move to hire first safety and security manager
Plus, Purdue Convos rolls out its 2022-23 season lineup. And what you need to know about Wabash Riverfest and this month’s Mosey, on tap Saturday
Thanks to Purdue Convocations for sponsoring today’s edition. Purdue Convocations presents its 120th Season with a lineup of projects and performances from around the world, outdoor spectacles, award-winning country, jazz, and chamber musicians, a repertory theatre residency, thought-provoking lectures, family-friendly engagements and award-winning Broadway musicals including “The Book of Mormon,” “Legally Blonde – The Musical,” “CATS,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” along with “Riverdance” 25th Anniversary Show. For the complete lineup, go to convocations.org/events and scroll through today’s edition.
TSC: NEW SAFETY AND SECURITY POSITION MORE THAN ANOTHER OFFICER
The introduction of Aaron Gilman as Tippecanoe School Corp.’s first safety and security manager might come on the heels of a mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that had one Tippecanoe County Council member calling for police presence in every TSC school.
But the timing on the new position for Gilman – a retired Tippecanoe County deputy and Tippecanoe School Corp.’s first school resource officer nine years ago – goes back further than that, Scott Hanback, TSC superintendent, said this week.
Plus, while Gilman’s role will include overseeing five uniformed school resource officers, his job will be something different than a police officer in a school setting.
“It’s a lot more than that,” Hanback said. “This is basically our next step in our commitment to provide a safe and secure environment for our kids and buildings and staff and families. … Aaron will be TSC’s point person for all things related to safety and security.”
That will include developing and overseeing safety plans for each of TSC’s 19 schools, emergency response training for staff, making sure parking lots and drop-off locations are safe and recommending additions, revisions or elimination of safety and security policies in the district with more than 14,000 students, according to the job description.
“Not that we were deficient or to sit here and say we were lax,” Hanback said. “But there’s just always more you feel like you could do and do better.”
Hanback said planning for the position started more than two years ago. Many of Gilman’s duties, as of July 1, had been done by others in TSC. TSC shelved the idea as it dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic. Hanback said TSC advertised the position in the spring.
“It probably looks like a response to the Texas shooting,” Hanback said. “But really we’ve always tried to maintain a very proactive tone with our safety and the security of our buildings and our students and teachers and staff. That’s what got us here.”
Gilman retired in June from the Tippecanoe County Sheriff’s Office, after 26 years with the department and nine years as a school resource officer for TSC. As school resource officer, Gilman said his job was interacting daily with students, teachers and staff.
“So, I’m pretty familiar with the staffing and the folks here at the corporation,” Gilman said. “This new position really focuses on campus safety, any type of improvements or upgrades that need to be made to keep us in the spirit of what is kind of the new norm. Obviously, we’ve had a lot of attacks on school properties nationwide in recent years and months. That is one of the focuses of my position, to shore up some deficiencies to address that. But as far as fire response or medical response or general emergency response, one of my main goals is to help build up our competence in our staff to address anything that might come up.”
Shortly after the mass shooting in Texas – 19 students and two teachers were killed at Robb Elementary – Tippecanoe County Council member John Basham questioned why there weren’t school resource officers in each TSC school. He pressed to make that an immediate priority for the county and for TSC.
Hanback said the district has five school resource officers who work among TSC’s 19 schools. Of those, the county pays for one. TSC pays for the other four, whether through a matching grant with the state’s homeland security department or from district funds that once went to security guards in the two high schools.
Hanback said that expansion of the SRO program could work as a campus configuration, combining one officer to cover sites where an elementary and middle school are next to each other. (Example: Mintonye Elementary and Southwestern Middle School on County Road 800 South.)
“That’s a discussion that needs to be had, and I think that’s what’s percolating now,” Hanback said. “We’ve got to talk about timing, we’ve got to talk about funding and we’ve got to talk about personnel, because being an SRO takes a special skill set.”
For now, Gilman said that among his first goals is to get more information to parents, including about social media and students’ use of it.
“I feel like we need to be more in front with parent groups and letting them know what we’re doing to keep their students safe, but also letting them know what they can do from their perspective to help with that,” Gilman said. “I will say that in my nine years, social media has been one of the biggest pains in my side.”
An example was a post that came near the end of the year that put a scare into Wea Ridge Middle School. Gilman said it turned out not to be an active, viable threat.
“But unfortunately, from the public standpoint, they only go off the information they see, and it’s spread like wildfire on Snapchat or other social media platforms,” Gilman said. “So, we’re just trying to work with some parents to say, hey, if we can hold off on providing social media to our kids until an older age, or at least monitoring that communication, so they’re not putting whatever messages out that might get relayed that causes panic.”
PURDUE CONVOS ROLLS OUT 2022-23 SEASON LINEUP
After taking small steps to bring live entertainment back to campus last year during a pandemic – including an all-outdoor season in fall 2021 with moves back indoors in spring 2022 – Purdue Convocations unveiled a full schedule for the coming academic year.
“This is the next step in coming back,” Todd Wetzel, Purdue Convos executive director, said during a rollout for Friends of Convocations at Ripple & Co. in downtown Lafayette Thursday evening. “We know people are just itching to get out to see shows. We’re ready to make this season a great one for them.”
Here’s the schedule for Convos’ 120th season:
Sway Company presents “Bloom!”, Sept. 8-9, three free outdoor shows each day, Purdue Memorial Union south lawn. Sway Company is an Australian collective of acrobatic artists who perform on 14-foot sway poles.
Larry Fleet, Sept. 8, Loeb Playhouse. The country performer returns to Purdue after opening for Jake Owen in February 2020.
West Lafayette Global Fest, Sept. 17, downtown Lafayette. The festival, now in its 27th year, features food and entertainment from the cultures of those who live in West Lafayette. Headliners include Ethiopian jazz artist Gili Yalo, Mongolian folk act Tuvergen Band, and New Mexican string band Lone Piñon.
Cecile McLorin Salvant, Sept. 29, Loeb Playhouse. Winner of the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition in 2010, the New York-based jazz singer is touring in support of her new album, “Ghost Song.”
“The Book of Mormon,” Oct. 16, Elliott Hall of Music. Nine-time Tony Award-winning musical.
“Legally Blonde – The Musical,” 7:30 p.m. Oct. 26, Elliott Hall of Music. Elle Woods doesn’t need backups. She’s going to Harvard. The musical based on the movie is coming to Purdue.
“Grace for President,” Oct. 29, Loeb Playhouse. Based on the popular children’s book of the same name.
“R.E.S.P.E.C.T.,” Nov. 5, Loeb Playhouse. The story of the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin.
“Pride and Prejudice,” Nov. 10, Loeb Playhouse. The first of back-to-back productions by New York’s Aquila Theatre, a take on Jane Austen’s novel. The performance and the two-day Aquila Theatre residency is part of a collaboration with the Cornerstone Integrated Liberal Arts Curriculum.
“Julius Caesar,” Nov. 11, Loeb Playhouse. Day two of the Aquila Theatre Company’s residency takes on Shakespeare.
“The Secret Agency,” Nov. 18, Wells Community Cultural Center, Lafayette. A family-friendly concert of old-school hip hop, funk and breakdancing.
Kenny Broberg, Nov. 20, Loeb Playhouse. Winner of the 2021 American Pianists Association Award and the Christel DeHaan Classical Fellowship in Indianapolis, pianist Kenny Broberg will make his Purdue debut.
tenThing: “A Feeling of Norwegian Christmas,” Dec. 11, Loeb Playhouse. A 10-piece, all-female brass ensemble led by trumpeter and group namesake, Tine Thing Helseth.
Sean Jones’ “Dizzy Spellz,” Jan. 20, Loeb Playhouse. Trumpeter Sean Jones’ show will headline the 2023 Purdue Jazz Festival.
TEDxPurdueU: “Terrarium,” Feb. 18, Loeb Playhouse. The 2023 edition of TEDxPurdueU will feature talks of 18 minutes or less, exploring a variety of ways technology, entertainment, design, culture, sustainability and environmentalism interface.
“CATS,” Feb. 19, Elliott Hall of Music. A Broadway favorite returns to Purdue.
“The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart,” Feb. 21-26, Duncan Hall, Lafayette. Billed as “a full-tilt immersive theatrical experience,” the show is based on the original National Theatre of Scotland production that played at Purdue in 2012. Count on seven performances over six days at Duncan Hall.
“Danny Carmo’s Mathematical Mysteries,” Feb. 26, Loeb Playhouse. Carmo sold out a show at Purdue in 2018 with a performance built on theater, technology and the idea that math can be fun.
“Memphis Jookin’: The Show,” featuring Lil Buck, March 4, Loeb Playhouse. Built around dancer Charles "Lil Buck" Riley and the street dance style called Memphis Jookin’.
“Riverdance” 25th Anniversary Show, March 26, Elliott Hall of Music. What more can you say? It’s “Riverdance,” reimagined 25 years after it debuted.
ATLYS, April 12-13, various locations. The string quartet, featuring former Lafayette resident Jinty McTavish on violin, will play a series of pop-up performances on campus and around Greater Lafayette.
“Jesus Christ Superstar,” April 14, Elliott Hall of Music. The Broadway hit doubles up “Riverdance’s” anniversary, marking its 50th anniversary tour.
Les Violons du Roy with Inon Barnatan, April 26, Loeb Playhouse. French-Canadian chamber orchestra Les Violons du Roy performs on a night that also features pianist Inon Barnatan.
FOR TICKETS: Tickets and more information for all Convos shows went on sale Thursday night, available online at convocations.org/tickets or by calling the Purdue Box Office at 765-494-3933 between 10 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays.
This and that …
WABASH RIVERFEST SCHEDULE: The Wabash Riverfest returns in full form Saturday, with Voyaguer canoe races, river float trips, a guided hike along the Wabash River to Fort Ouiatenon, bike rides, a rock climbing wall, music and conservation exhibits at West Lafayette’s Tapawingo Park, near State Street and Tapawingo Drive. Sponsored by the Wabash River Enhancement Corp., the festival will run from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. For a schedule of the free events, here’s a link.
ST. MARY’S NEIGHBORHOOD WALKING TOUR: Preserve Historic Lafayette will host a walking tour of the St. Mary’s Neighborhood, along the South and Columbia street hills just east of downtown Lafayette, from 1-4 p.m. Saturday, July 9. The tours begin at Fisher Funeral Home, 914 Columbia St. Tour map/brochures take a $20 donation, which will go to the Wabash Valley Trust for Historic Preservation. The tours are self-guided or guided, whichever you prefer, and include some stops to see interior spaces. For more information, here’s a link to the event page on Facebook.
THE MOSEY FORECAST: In current dry conditions – what are they calling it, a flash drought? – wouldn’t it be just like the clouds to open up between 6 and 11 p.m. Saturday in downtown Lafayette? Perish the thought, right Mosey Down Main Street? Barring downpours, like the one that shut down the Mosey in June, here’s a rundown of the acts scheduled during the monthly summer festival, between Sixth and 11th streets on Main.
Security Federal Stage, Sixth and Main streets
6 p.m.: Taurus Moon
7:20 p.m.: Sheeza
8:40 p.m.: Dirty Penny
10 p.m.: Graciously Departed
Q106.7 Stage, Eighth and Main streets
6 p.m.: The Wabash Kid and Friends
7:20 p.m.: Kindred Spirit Project, featuring Greg Deason and David Beering
8:40 p.m.: Scratch Thing
10 p.m.: The Unusual Suspects
Ninth and Main streets
7-9 p.m.: Oasis Belly Dancing Troupe
11th and Main streets
6 p.m.: Brian Hanrahan
7:20 p.m.: Christopher Gipson
8:40 p.m.: WyldSyde
10 p.m.: The Carnies
Thanks, again, to Purdue Convocations for sponsoring today’s edition. To see the complete lineup for the 2022-23 season, unveiled Thursday, go to convocations.org/events or click on the links below.
THANKS FOR SUPPORTING INDEPENDENT, LOCAL REPORTING.