Over the past 20 years, schools in the United States, including in Indiana, have seen an increase in shootings and other violence.
Just a few months ago, a shooting occurred at Noblesville West Middle School. Thanks to the exceptional bravery of a teacher there were no deaths, but this tragedy emphasized the need for lawmakers and other officials to do everything in our power to keep students and teachers safe.
The Secured School Grant Fund (SSSG) was established in 2013 and allows school corporations, charter schools and private schools to receive annual grants for items such as safety equipment and technology, school resource officers and threat assessments of school property.
The Indiana Department of Homeland Security recently awarded more than $14 million in SSSGs to schools across the state. These funds included the additional $5 million allocated by House Enrolled Act 1230, which I supported and the Indiana General Assembly passed earlier this year. HEA 1230 also requires a statewide review of school safety and establishes a new low-interest loan program for any projects that improve school safety.
In addition, Indiana is one of only two states that requires each school district to employ a certified school safety specialist, who serves as a well-trained contact person to make sure schools have the latest information and best practices available and complete their safety drills. Further, the Indiana State Police (ISP) have a nationally recognized public training program that teaches active-shooter preparedness and safety. Schools, businesses and community groups can receive a training from ISP at no charge.
In order to continue to support our ongoing school safety efforts, Gov. Holcomb recently announced that all public, private and charter schools in Indiana can request handheld metal detectors at no cost to be used along with their current security measures. Over 3,200 handheld metal detectors were requested and will be distributed to schools across the state.
No school should ever experience a shooting, and it is our responsibility as lawmakers to do what we can to prevent these tragedies. I hope that, with these increased safety measures, we can provide our schools with the increased protection they need.
If you have any questions, comments or concerns regarding this or other topics, contact my office by phone at 800-382-9467 or by email at Senator.Long@iga.in.gov.
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