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New School Safety Recommendations Stress Importance Of Mental Health Services

(Office of Gov. Eric Holcomb)

The group responsible for Indiana’s school safety report says the state needs to improve mental health services and data sharing to keep kids safe.

Governor Eric Holcomb released the report Friday. It includes 18 recommendations for the state to consider, divided into three separate categories: mental health, safety equipment and training, and policy or legislative action.

Officials from a handful of state agencies helped create the report.

Spokesperson Adam Baker says the State Department of Education takes pride in the emphasis on mental health.

“We’ve said for a long time that mental health support can be key to preventing violence in schools can be key to reaching children earlier before situations happen,” Baker says.

Recommendations in the mental health category include a state-offered mental health screening tool for schools to use, and requiring all schools to provide basic mental health support to students and families through local providers.

Others in the list range from creating an online hub of school safety resources to requiring active shooter training in every school. Items on the report will help guide the governor’s legislative priorities next year, but some items from the list are already in motion, including the creation of an anonymous tip line with the Indiana State Police.

An analysis from the State Budget Agency will look at the cost of the recommendations, and any potential funding sources or existing programs for their implementation.

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