Gov. Holcomb receives report outlining school safety recommendations

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Gov. Eric Holcomb

INDIANAPOLIS – Gov. Eric Holcomb received a new school safety report Wednesday filled with recommendations to improve safety in schools statewide.

The analysis was first ordered after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. The collaboration included numerous state agencies like the Department of Education, Indiana State Police, Family and Social services Administration and Homeland Security.

Holcomb said Wednesday he will first review the report and meet with stakeholders before releasing the findings and recommendations to the public. The goal, state officials have said, is to create a framework for both short-term and long-term goals.

“It may inform us to take some immediate steps that we can and we will,” Holcomb said. “And then it will have a longer-term perspective to it as well. We’ve done a lot right on this front.”

Holcomb stressed the goal is not to create a new sweeping set of statewide standards but rather embolden local school corporations to make their own safety decisions with the help and resources of the state government.

“There might need to be some minimum standards, like sprinklers to meet fire code,” Holcomb said. “However if you get into all the details, different schools have a different opinion on how they want to ensure their school is safe. And I respect that.”

Teresa Meredith, president of the Indiana State Teachers Association, said she approves of that approach, adding she hopes the report address student class size and student-to-counselor ratio.

“I think local control is key here – really knowing the student population, the community in which the school is,” she said. “We can have all of the metal detectors and police officers – all of those kind of things that we want in a school – but until we spend time getting to know our students and helping our students feel safe, we’re never going to get to the root cause of some of the school violence that we see.”

Holcomb didn’t give a specific timeline as to when he will publicly release the report.

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