Indiana bill would help schools provide mental health services to students on campus

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – On the one-year anniversary of the Parkland school shooting, Indiana lawmakers discussed a bill that would help districts provide mental health services to students on campus. After a 13-0 vote by the State Senate Appropriations Committee, it's now making its way to the full Senate floor.

State Senator Michael Crider, co-author of SB266, felt his bill would be another way to protect our kids. It would allow schools to bring in providers which is in addition to counselors that may already be on campus.

"It’s certainly appropriate how to better protect the students as far as the structure of the building and things like that but at the same time we should consider their social and emotional needs," said Crider. "Most of these situations we are seeing on a national level are not big surprises."

Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness said they've already implemented this into their school system and they're seeing positive results in the classroom.

"If we can get them the help they need, perhaps we can prevent any number of tragic outcomes from occurring," said Fadness.

Not everyone was in support of it during the committee hearing Thursday afternoon. One grandmother thought this was "an overreaction to a very emotional issue."

They asked state lawmakers to not provide funding for these services. Crider is asking for roughly $10 million for a grant program. The State Senate Appropriations Committee took that fiscal component out through an amendment.

Crider still hopes to get the money at the end of the process.

"Until we start addressing the mental health needs of some of our students who are in fact contemplating suicide and take their classmates with them we are not going to get ahead of this game," he said.

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