OP ED: Sen. Mark Messmer on Prioritizing School Safety

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By: Sen. Mark Messmer (R-JASPER)

On May 14, the Indiana General Assembly convened for a special session called by the governor. Five bills were introduced in and passed both the House and Senate and were signed by the governor.

The legislation passed increases funding for school safety, updates Indiana’s tax code and addresses two financially distressed schools in our state. One of the most important topics we addressed during the special session was school safety.

According to CNN, in the first 19 weeks of 2018, there were 21 school shootings in the United States where a person was either injured or killed. Due to these recent tragedies, the General Assembly found it necessary to pass House Enrolled Act 1230.

This bill provides up to $5 million in additional funding to Indiana schools that applied for grants through the Secured School Safety Grant Program this year. The schools will be able to use this money to improve safety measures to protect Hoosier students.

In addition, HEA 1230 requires school safety specialists to be trained in identifying, preventing and intervening in actions by a person who is on school property with the intent to harm someone.

Finally, HEA 1230 requires the Indiana Department of Education to conduct an audit of every school corporation’s safety plan. This is another measure to ensure we are using the best practices to protect both children and adults in the school.

With this legislation in place, our schools will be equipped with better safety measures, which will help protect our students and teachers and help prevent tragedies like those that occurred earlier this year.

As always, feel free to contact my office directly with your questions and concerns by email at [email protected] or by phone at 800-382-9467.