Indiana schools take action regarding safety

Bloomfield Community Schools in Greene County, Ind. plan to provide more security after suspicious activity occurring last month. The U.S. Senate proposed a bill to help Indiana schools like Bloomfield provide necessary security changes.

Governor Mike Pence, R, Ind. and the U.S. Senate proposed the bill this month to allow a “comprehensive” review of school security, according to an article by Network Indiana. The purpose is to ‘beef’ up school security because of the Connecticut shootings last December.

Approximately $10 million in a grant fund will be set-aside in the proposed School Resource and Safety Officer Act, according to a press release by Sen. Barbara Boxer, D, Calif. It will help Indiana schools provide more security in case of suspicious activity or emergencies.

The incident at Bloomfield schools reported a 17-year-old male attempting to gain access to a locked door on Jan. 24, according to a Herald-Times article. The male said he did not attend the school but said he wanted to enroll. The suspicious teenager had no weapons but possessed handcuffs.

Superintendent Dan Sichting told the paper in an emailthe schools remained on lockdown that day  “as a precautionary move in case of ‘copy cat’ issues.”

Copy cats are persons who re-enact past known shootings. Thus, officials do not want another instance of the shootings similar to previous brutal accounts in the U.S.

Bloomfield police said in the article they took the 17-year-old into custody that day. Police continue their investigation.

According to the Greene County Daily World article, Sichting said he plans to deal with architectural flaws and other precautionary details, including hiring additional staff. 

Senator Boxer’s School Resource and Safety Officer Act will help by using “community policing strategies to prevent violence and improve student safety,” according to the news release. Local governments will train and swear in law enforcement officials at schools within jurisdiction. Grants can total to $200,000 if the cities and school districts qualify. 

“We owe it to our children and our grandchildren to ensure that they are safe when they are at school,” Boxer said in the press release. “This legislation would give local communities and schools that want to strengthen security the opportunity for new resources and tools to help keep students safe.”

Indianapolis school-safety consultant Chuck Hibbert said in Network Indiana’s article a tight state funding in past years prompted schools to cut back security training to avoid teacher layoffs. He said a review would be a good idea.

In fact, Indiana schools are required to have policy to designate a safety plan. The state is the only state housing a training academy for school safety specialists, Hibbert said in the press release. However, it is difficult to tell how many schools have a specialist on staff, he said.

In an Indiana Business Journal press release, Pence said, “Hoosiers have rights, and we will see to protecting those rights. And we have responsibilities, especially to kids.”

Reference:

“Bloomfield School District Reviews Safety Procedures.” Greene County Daily World. Greene County Daily World, 01 Feb. 2013. Web. 06 Feb. 2013. http://www.gcdailyworld.com/story/1937326.html.

Boxer, Barbara. “Official Website of Senator Barbara Boxer.” Official Website of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer: Press Releases. N.p., 24 Jan. 2013. Web. 05 Feb. 2013.

Herald-Times. “Bloomfield Schools on Lockdown after Suspicious Behavior: HeraldTimesOnline.com.” Heraldtimesonline.com. Herald-Times News, n.d. Web. 05 Feb. 2013.

Indianapolis Business Journal. “Pence Says He’ll Review School Safety; No Word on Guns.” Indianapolis Business Journal. Indianapolis Business Journal, 19 Dec. 2012. Web. 6 Feb. 2013. <“Hoosiers have rights, and we will see to protecting those rights. And we have responsibilities, especially to kids,”>.

Network Indiana. “Senate Gives Priority To Bill Increasing School Security.” Network Indiana. Network Indiana News, 24 Jan. 2013. Web. 5 Feb. 2013. http://indianapublicmedia.org/news/bill-increasing-school-security-priority-senate-43543/.

Rich, Motoko. “N.R.A. Call to Guard Schools Is Criticized as Too Simplistic.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 23 Dec. 2012. Web. 05 Feb. 2013. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/23/us/mixed-reaction-to-call-for-armed-guards-in-schools.html?partner=rss.

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