Governor Eric Holcomb has released a report detailing recommendations on improving school safety throughout the state. The report was compiled by a working group that included officials from the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, Indiana Department of Education, and other agencies.
The report names 18 recommendations that were separated into three categories: enhanced mental health services; safety equipment, technology, tools and training; and policy or legislative considerations regarding school safety. As a result, the governor has directed several next steps in improving school safety:
- The Indiana State Budget Agency will direct an effort to identify costs associated with the recommendations and how they might be funded, whether through existing programs or other local, state or federal sources. The governor will use the information as he determines his 2019 legislative and administrative priorities
- The Department of Homeland Security will initiate efforts to create an Indiana School Safety Hub to put state resources in one easy to use online location for schools and parents (recommendation #7)
- The Integrated Public Safety Commission will develop a self-evaluation tool to maximize the effectiveness of each school’s communications systems and activities (recommendation #8)
- The Indiana State Police will set up and develop an anonymous tip line (recommendation #10)
- The state fire marshal has already developed guidance for schools on unplanned fire alarms and the Indiana Department of Education is assisting with distribution to all schools (recommendation #11)
"Ensuring every one of our students has a safe place to learn and grow is of the utmost importance," Holcomb said in a news release. "This assessment is an important step toward helping our schools be better prepared for the unknown."
The recommendations were formed after the working group received feedback from more than 400 school administrators, educators, first responders, public safety officials and others from throughout the state.
Last month, Holcomb’s office said the state would make handheld metal detectors available at no cost to schools that request them. By the end of the month, nearly 370 schools requested more than 3,200 metal detectors in the first round. Another round of requests is expected to take place this fall.
You can view the full report below: