INDIANAPOLIS – In Indiana, adding more school resource officers in the wake of other school shootings has been a priority in recent years, and some of that legislation has allowed schools to increase security.
After the school shooting in Parkland, Fl., in 2018, Gov. Eric Holcomb requested lawmakers increase state funding for school security. Later that year, a Noblesville student shot a teacher and another student.
In 2019, state lawmakers approved more grant funding for schools to hire school resource officers.
“It’s devastating,” said Chase Lyday, Avon school police chief, regarding the Texas elementary school shooting. “Not only am I a school resource officer, I’m a parent.”
Lyday, who runs the Indiana School Resource Officers Association, said he would like to see school resource officers in every Indiana school but understands the financial challenges districts face.
“The reality is schools need to be protected by personnel, and those who are best positioned to do that are carefully selected, specifically trained, properly equipped school resource officers,” Lyday said.
Several new laws in recent years have helped to get those kinds of officers into more schools, Lyday said.
Earlier this year, lawmakers approved new training requirements for school resource officers.
The 2019 law expanded grant funding for school security by about 35%.
In Wayne Township, that allowed the district to hire two more school resource officers, according to superintendent Jeff Butts.
“The continuation of school safety grants has assisted us in providing a more safe environment for our students,” Butts said.
Butts said he has talked with other administrators and security officers following the recent school shooting in Texas. His team routinely reviews the district’s safety plans, he said, adding that parents can help school officials in their efforts.
“The more engaged our parents can be with their children I think is a critical factor and making sure that our children know that if they see something, they need to say something,” Butts said.
Under the grant program, $19 million is distributed to school districts each year. Applications for the next round of grants open June 1, according to state officials.