Governor signs Indiana school safety legislation in Mt. Vernon

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MT. VERNON, Ind. (WEHT) – Indiana Republican Governor Eric Holcomb signed a pair of school safety laws Friday at Mount Vernon High School in an auditorium filled with students.

Together the laws allow schools access to state money to harden their doors and get kids to help if they need it. It gives principals and teachers the authority to spend the state grant money how they see fit.

“We have to be ever vigilant,” Holcomb said. “We were reminded just this last weekend that evil exists in this world.”

Holcomb put pen to paper in what amounted to a ceremonial signing of Senate Enrolled Act 325, and House Enrolled Act 1004.

State Representative Wendy McNamara (R – Evansville) spearheaded the effort.

“This task force was put together shortly after the shootings that happened in Florida,” McNamara said.

Over the next 2 years, schools across Indiana will have access to $38 million.

For the first time, 1004 allows access of state money to smaller schools. Before, it was nearly out of reach for them to apply for grants.

The new laws allow schools to fund mental health programs to connect students with help. They also require school corporations to have active shooter drills and strength assessments.

“There is a grant specifically for at-risk students and their parents so that everybody who needs somebody has somebody,” McNamara explained.

The laws allow schools to hire uniformed law enforcement rather than a school resource officer.

“We know that no one bill will eliminate evil in the world, but we can take big steps to making progress to make sure our schools are safe all over the state,” added Holcomb.

The ceremony was less than 30 minutes, but Holcomb and McNamara hope the effects of the two laws will last for years.

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This story was originally published on August 9, 2019

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