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Bill Would Partner Seniors, Students to Improve School Safety

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Over two dozen bills were filed to improve school safety, including bills addressing school busses, teacher training and mental health programming. - Lauren Chapman/IPB News

Some lawmakers want to connect seniors with students to improve school safety. 

The House Education Committee approved a bill Wednesday to create a program that would partner volunteers 55 years or older with students. 

Rep. Chuck Goodrich (R-Noblesville) authored the bill. He says it could improve social and emotional support in schools, and ultimately, make them safer.

"I think as we grow relationships with our seniors in our schools and our teachers, that’s our three-legged stool," Goodrich said. "An ounce of prevention is absolutely worth a pound of cure."

Three types of schools –– urban, suburban and rural –– would each be eligible to receive a $75,000 grant from the Indiana Department of Education. Volunteers in the program would also be eligible for tax deductions.

Tara Johnson, a Purdue University education professor, testified in support of the bill.  She said the flexibility of the bill would allow school corporations to use volunteers how it sees fit. 

"What I love about it is the focus on, or the understanding, that relationship is key," Johnson said. 

The bill is one of over two dozen bills in the legislature that address school safety, partly in response to the Noblesville West Middle School shooting last year. 

During committee, the bill was amended to allow volunteers the flexibility to work half-days. 

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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