Cherry: Keeping Our Kids Safe at School and Online

Posted by: Lydia Kirschner  | Monday, March 18, 2019 10:20 am

The 2019 legislative session crossed the halfway point, with 201 House bills and 218 Senate bills passing out of their original chambers. The House is considering Senate proposals, and the Senate is considering House proposals. Among those moving through the legislative process are two bills I support to help keep our kids safe.

Legislation that I am co-authoring, House Bill 1398, would improve communication between local law enforcement and schools to keep students safe. While schools have resources in place to help children, they may not be aware of students exhibiting warning signs of violent tendencies at home. The police may have this information, but schools are not currently informed. Allowing information to be shared between appropriate school staff and law enforcement could help prevent tragedies. Critical information that law enforcement shares with schools would remain confidential, and in order to maintain a balance between privacy and safety, school personnel would not have unrestricted access to any unrelated personal details. By sharing information related to school safety, appropriate staff and officials can work together to protect students.

I am sponsoring Senate Bill 3 on behalf of State Sen. Mike Crider from Greenfield, which would establish the Internet Crimes Against Children Fund that would be administered by the Indiana State Police. Local law enforcement agencies could use grants from this fund to train and equip officers to investigate internet crimes committed against children. The state police currently operate the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force that specializes in preventing and stopping crime and child pornography, and developing databases about criminal activity.

The growth of technology has resulted in an increase of crimes against children on the internet, according to the Indiana State Police. In 2017, ICAC Task Force arrested more than 10,300 people involved in internet crimes nationwide. While the state has implemented certain measures, some communities do not have the resources to properly identify and combat these crimes, and these grants could help our local public safety officers protect vulnerable children.

We need to do everything we can to best protect Hoosier youth. To learn more about these proposals for new laws, visit iga.in.gov. As session continues, let’s stay connected. For questions or input, please call 317-232-9651 or email H53@iga.in.gov.

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State Rep. Bob Cherry (R-Greenfield) represents House District 53,

which includes portions of Hancock and Madison counties.

Click here to download a high-resolution photo.