Photo: Viewmaker (flickr)
Indiana schools could apply for up to $50,000 in grant money to improve school safety under legislation that passed a Senate committee Thursday.
The school safety bill would provide grant money for schools to do three things: conduct threat assessments of school buildings, purchase safety equipment and technology and hire school resource officers.
School resource officers are trained law enforcement personnel who, under the bill, would also be required to undergo 40 hours of training specifically for work in a school environment.
DJ Schoeff, a school resource officer in the Carmel school district, says he is more than just an armed guard.
“It gives us an opportunity to really build positive relationships with the students in our community and extend that even into the parents of our community,” he says.
Schoeff says school resources officers interact daily with students, in some cases even as counselors. Though the bill passed unanimously out of committee, some senators are concerned it may not address greater needs in small, rural school districts.
Lawmakers who support the bill say they want to shine a brighter spotlight on school safety in the wake of the Newtown school shooting. The total amount of money for the grant fund has also not been determined.