School safety bill introduced into General Assembly

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Calling it a “good first step” for school safety, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller outlined a proposed bill that would create a uniform standard for the school resource officers.

Senate Bill 270, introduced Jan. 3 by State Sen. Pete Miller, R-Avon, defines the qualifications for being a school resource officer as well as the duties of that position. In addition, the legislation would provide matching grants that school corporations could use to support their own SROs.

Miller is a member of the Senate Education and Career Development Committee.

Both Zoeller and Miller emphasized this bill is an initial step and not the single answer to improving school safety.

“I think the state government, the legislators, the governor-elect (Mike) Pence, (education) superintendent-elect (Glenda) Ritz will all have several opportunities to consider proposals on school safety,” Zoeller said, “but as a first step, Sen. Miller and I would like to propose to expand upon a program that’s currently in place in the state of Indiana and has shown proven benefit.”

Although Zoeller noted this bill “reflects a little bit” of the shooting at the Newtown, Conn., elementary school in December, he emphasized his office was working on this legislation before that tragic event. It builds upon the current system in place by providing a $10 million boost in additional funding.

“I think it’s particularly important these positions be expanded upon in light of the tragedy in Connecticut,” the attorney general said of SROs. “I think school safety is on the minds of a lot of parents and the public at large.”

The legislation defines that the SRO must be either a school employee or law enforcement officer who has completed a training program and received certification. The duties of these officers include promoting school safety, addressing bullying and mentoring students.

Zoeller backed away from questions that the bill opens the door for teachers and coaches to become SROs. He noted to be a school resource officer, individuals will have to go through law enforcement training and that the position is most closely related to law enforcement.

A key hurdle, Zoeller and Miller acknowledge, is money. In a press release, the funding was described as “conceptual at this point.” The bill calls for an appropriation of $10 million into the Indiana Safe School Fund from which state matching grants will be drawn. These grants of up to $50,000 would be available to school corporations for two years.

Miller called the grants “seed money.” Permanent funding would have to come from the local sources or other legislative means.



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  1. Lori, you must really love wedding cake stories like this one ... happy enuf ending for you?

  2. This new language about a warning has not been discussed at previous meetings. It's not available online. Since it must be made public knowledge before the vote, does anyone know exactly what it says? Further, this proposal was held up for 5 weeks because members Carol and Lucy insisted that all terms used be defined. So now, definitions are unnecessary and have not been inserted? Beyond these requirements, what is the logic behind giving one free pass to discriminators? Is that how laws work - break it once and that's ok? Just don't do it again? Three members of Carmel's council have done just about everything they can think of to prohibit an anti-discrimination ordinance in Carmel, much to Brainard's consternation, I'm told. These three 'want to be so careful' that they have failed to do what at least 13 other communities, including Martinsville, have already done. It's not being careful. It's standing in the way of what 60% of Carmel residents want. It's hurting CArmel in thT businesses have refused to locate because the council has not gotten with the program. And now they want to give discriminatory one free shot to do so. Unacceptable. Once three members leave the council because they lost their races, the Carmel council will have unanimous approval of the ordinance as originally drafted, not with a one free shot to discriminate freebie. That happens in January 2016. Why give a freebie when all we have to do is wait 3 months and get an ordinance with teeth from Day 1? If nothing else, can you please get s copy from Carmel and post it so we can see what else has changed in the proposal?

  3. Here is an interesting 2012 law review article for any who wish to dive deeper into this subject matter: Excerpt: "Judicial interpretation of the ADA has extended public entity liability to licensing agencies in the licensure and certification of attorneys.49 State bar examiners have the authority to conduct fitness investigations for the purpose of determining whether an applicant is a direct threat to the public.50 A “direct threat” is defined as “a significant risk to the health or safety of others that cannot be eliminated by a modification of policies, practices or procedures, or by the provision of auxiliary aids or services as provided by § 35.139.”51 However, bar examiners may not utilize generalizations or stereotypes about the applicant’s disability in concluding that an applicant is a direct threat.52"

  4. We have been on the waiting list since 2009, i was notified almost 4 months ago that we were going to start receiving payments and we still have received nothing. Every time I call I'm told I just have to wait it's in the lawyers hands. Is everyone else still waiting?

  5. I hope you dont mind but to answer my question. What amendment does this case pretain to?