3:03 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

School Safety Bill Clears Indiana Senate Panel

Indiana lawmakers say they hope to improve security at schools around the state by offering grants toward hiring police officers and buying safety equipment.

A bill approved today by a state Senate committee would set up a two-year matching grant program allowing schools up to $50,000 a year. Bill sponsor Sen. Pete Miller says he hopes $10 million a year will be set aside for the program, so that 200 grants could be awarded.

"This is a first step toward school safety," Miller told the Senate Appropriations Committee.  

"No one is suggesting this is the end-all, be-all.   Clearly with Connecticut there were some mental health issues, other issues that played into that and I know that those will be part of other discussions going forward."

Many governments and school districts are revisiting their school safety plans in the wake of the deadly shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut last year.

Miller says the Indiana program aims to encourage districts to hire police officers who've undergone extra training as school resource officers. He says that would be in addition to the administrator or teacher who already leads a school's general safety program.

The plan now goes to the full Senate for consideration.