Pence signs school safety bill

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Governor Mike Pence was surrounded by school children as he signed the bill that will provide new money for the hiring of school resource officers who have law enforcement training, and for the development of school safety plans.

It's a reaction to the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut and the product of a task force that began meeting at the Statehouse even before Mike Pence took office. 

"We've been discussing how to plan for and prevent these tragedies from ever coming to the state of Indiana," said Pence.

It's a bill that was almost derailed when a committee in the Indiana House inserted a mandate for guns in every school.  After Attorney General Greg Zoeller objected, the mandate was removed.

The bill signed by the governor calls for a study of school safety measures that will lead to new legislation in coming years but the governor indicated that the gun mandate is gone for good. 

"I'm just someone who believes that that ultimately ought to be a decision of the local community and the local school," he said.

But all of those local schools now have a new incentive to consider hiring a resource officer who may, or may not be armed.  Under the new law matching grants of up to $50,000 dollars are available to any school.

The bill also calls for better communication among state agencies to identify threats.  For example, schools are to be notified if there is any arrest of a student who is suspected to have mental problems.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

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