Photo: Adam DeClercq (flickr)
Changes made Tuesday to a school safety bill would require armed personnel in every Hoosier public school.
The original bill, as it passed the Senate, encouraged, but did not mandate, Indiana schools to hire school resource officers – trained law enforcement who receive additional training for the school environment.
A House committee approved Tuesday an amendment that creates a new position called a school protection officer and requires each school to have one. The school protection officer would be required to carry a gun but does not need to be a law enforcement officer. Existing school staff, including principals or teachers, could become the school’s protection officer by going through training. What that training involves is not specified in the bill.
Rep. Jim Lucas (R-Seymour), who authored the amendment, says he is trying to prevent tragedies like the Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech and Columbine shootings.
“The only defense against something like that is with a firearm,” he says.
Rep. Vernon Smith (D-Gary) says Lucas’ argument has some validity, but he does not think teachers or principals should be the ones with the guns.
“I served as a principal for 20 years and I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to have possession of a gun,” Smith says.
The bill now heads for the House Ways and Means Committee.