Cook: New law provides more mental health resources to schools

Posted by: Andi TenBarge  | Thursday, August 22, 2019

STATEHOUSE (Aug. 22, 2019) – Indiana schools can now access to more mental health programs on behalf of students after Gov. Eric Holcomb signed legislation sponsored by State Rep. Tony Cook (R-Cicero) into law.

According to Cook, the law creates a process for schools to communicate with a student’s guardian if teachers or administrators notice aberrant or abnormal behavior. With the guardians’ consent, the school and family can develop a plan to help the child receive mental health services.

“This procedure models a natural referral process schools already use when communicating issues to parents,” Cook said. “We want to make sure we are connecting these students to the right services in order for them to get the help they need and stay on track with their academics.”

Cook said the new law also opens up an opportunity for schools to seek money to pay for those mental health services from the Secured School Safety Grant Program Fund. To date, Cook said the fund provided more than $53 million in grant money to enhance school safety.

“This new law furthers Indiana’s commitment to protecting all citizens from harm, especially our students in school,” Cook said. “Mental health is a key component for a student’s wellbeing. Our hope is that we can take a proactive approach to safety issues by equipping schools with the resources they need to handle students facing a mental health issue.”

For more information about the new law, visit iga.in.gov.

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State Rep. Tony Cook (R-Cicero) represents House District 32, which includes all of Tipton County and portions of Hamilton, Madison, Delaware, Howard and Grant counties.

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