STATEHOUSE (May 16, 2018) — Gov. Eric Holcomb on Monday signed into law legislation putting more protections in place for Hoosier students, according to State Rep. Jeff Ellington (R-Bloomington).
House Enrolled Act 1230 appropriates up to an additional $5 million to the Indiana Secured School Safety Grant Fund. Ellington said this is in addition to the $45 million already allotted to support initiatives to keep schools safe and secure.
“School safety was a top priority for Hoosier lawmakers this year,” Ellington said. “We want to ensure educators have the ability to protect students, giving parents peace of mind.”
Ellington helped craft key language in a collaborative effort for this legislation. Under the new law, school safety specialist training will be implemented and will include information on identifying, preventing and intervening in actions by a person on school property who has the intent to harm others. Additionally, the secured school safety board will conduct a review and submit a report and recommendations to the Legislative Council, and each school corporation’s safety plan will be subject to a required audit.
Protocol in the event of an unplanned fire alarm is also updated to allow an employee to barricade or block a door for up to three minutes while the fire alarm is investigated by a designated school official. Ellington said this is to prevent the tactics like the one used in the Parkland tragedy.
The law also implements efforts to protect students against the dangers of human trafficking. Ellington said in 2016 alone, nearly 180 human trafficking victims were identified in Indiana. House Enrolled Act 1230 requires certain employees of a school corporation to receive at least one hour of in-service training on identifying, reporting and prevention of human trafficking.
“Many people do not understand just how human trafficking impacts Indiana,” Ellington said. “We hope this new law will combat this horrific crime through educating our youth, teachers and the public.”
Ellington said the law includes another protection for students by adding cellphones to the definition of cyberbullying and requiring the Department of Education, State Board of Education and school corporations to clearly identify resources for cyberbullying and human trafficking prevention on their website.
State Rep. Jeff Ellington represents House District 62, which includes
portions of Greene, Monroe, Martin and Daviess counties.
A high-resolution photo of Ellington can be downloaded by clicking here.