Cook: Protecting our students

Posted by: Allison Vanatsky  | Friday, February 2, 2018

Children spend a large amount of time at school. As they focus on their classes and shuffle off to athletic events, House lawmakers are considering policies to better ensure our students are safe as they continue to grow and learn.

Bullying is a problem many students face across the nation, further propelled by access to social media and cellphones. To better take on this issue in our schools, House Bill 1230 would ensure that all school corporations’ have disciplinary rules that prohibit bullying through computer software, cellphones and all other wireless communication devices. Current law states that a school corporations disciplinary rules pertaining to bullying must prohibit bullying through computers. In addition, the Department of Education would provide online resources for preventing or reporting bullying and cyberbullying.

The DOE would also maintain a link on its website on how to identify and report human trafficking. In order to teach educators about the signs, certain school employees would begin to participate in at least one hour of in-service training every two years pertaining to the identification and reporting of human trafficking.

Human trafficking can occur anywhere and a victim can be trafficked without ever leaving their community. Educators interact daily with children who are at risk of becoming or are already victims of human trafficking. By being able to recognize the signs of human trafficking, those who work closely with children can be better equipped to help their students.

We also want to ensure that our students are able to remain safe while doing extracurricular activities. Our student athletes are often expected to spend several days a week playing sports in the summer sun. HB 1024 would establish a certified coaching education course, which all coaches would complete. The goal of this training is to ensure that coaches and their staff are knowledgeable in the prevention of heat-related medical issues and how to properly respond to complications that may arise from a student athlete's training.

I am co-authoring both of these bills, which recently passed out of the House. As I work on this legislation and consider whether or not to support other proposals for new laws, please contact me with any questions or comments at 317-232-9678 or by email at h32@iga.in.gov. For more information about my bills and other legislation, visit iga.in.gov. Learn more about the work being done at the Statehouse by signing up to receive email updates at www.in.gov/h32.

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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. 

A high-resolution photo of Cook can be downloaded by clicking here.