TERRE HAUTE —
A series of walkaways in the past year from Gibault’s southside facility serving troubled youth and resulting scary incidents produced sharp reactions from area homeowners and officials representing nearby schools. The mood was tense and nerves were frayed.
Safety and security concerns stemming from Gibault’s seeming inability to adequately contain its residential clients were clearly beginning to tarnish the institution’s image and reputation in the community.
While there’s still progress to be made, it’s good to know that Gibault officials are working hard to respond in a constructive manner by being more transparent with the public and more willing to inform people of efforts to make things better for all affected, including the young people the facility serves.
In a meeting of Gibault officials with local law enforcement, school officials and representatives of area homeowners, Michele Madley, interim Gibault CEO, reported on recent changes the institution has implemented to help address concerns about safety and security.
Among its steps are an increase in security staff, and immediate notification of police when two or more residents leave the Gibault campus. Nearby residents will also be notified through their homeowners associations, and schools will be informed when in session.
Meanwhile, more meetings similar to the one on Tuesday are planned for the future.
Gibault’s worthy mission has changed through the years as it serves young people with more severe and diverse problems. It speaks well of the community if the institution can coexist in its neighborhood and still managed to serves the needs of its fragile clientele.
The people of Terre Haute need to be proud of the work being done at and by Gibault. Building on this momentum and working toward eliminating safety concerns is a way that pride and confidence can be restored.