Judy: Adding another tool to the school safety toolbox

Judy: Adding another tool to the school safety toolbox

Posted by: Jake Thompson  | Monday, February 4, 2019

When parents send their children off to school, they make the conscious decision to entrust others to take care of the most important part of their life. As a parent, nothing frightens me more than the prospect of a tragedy happening in our community like the ones that unfolded in Noblesville and Richmond last year. You pray and hope, and then pray harder those events do not happen at your children’s schools. I, like every parent, want the best possible protections in place for my children. That’s why I believe school districts that allow educators to have access to a firearm should be required to complete certified training. 

Last year, the Jay County School Corporation board unanimously voted in favor of providing firearm access to qualified personnel. Those select staff members can access guns locked in strategically placed safes. For Jay County schools, access to firearms as a last line of defense for students and educators was based on successful completion of a psychological screening, a background check and the same handgun test administered to police.

To be clear, Indiana school corporations can currently choose to allow firearms into schools in a way best suited for their safety purposes. I commend Jay County School Corporation on the way they handled its situation and its requirements. It’s my hope that all schools that choose to allow firearms would follow a similar model.

Under my proposed legislation, schools who opt to allow firearm access to teachers, educators and staff must complete a minimum of 40 hours of training with a required certification upon completion. Additional yearly training would also be mandatory. Included in this training would be firearm proficiency, weapon retention and instruction, scenario-based training, preparation on psychological and medical issues that may arise from the use of a firearm and guidance on Indiana firearm laws.

As legislators, we are working diligently this session to further protect our youth and improve upon Indiana’s status as a national leader in school safety. We are the only state requiring school corporations to employ a part- or full-time school resource officer and 1 of only 2 states that require each school district to have a school safety specialist. Since 2013, Indiana has appropriated over $45 million in school safety grants, with $18 million in this past budget.

I feel it is important for us to continue communicating on these issues as the 2019 legislative session continues.

Please contact me anytime to share input on state issues by email at h83@iga.in.gov or by calling 317-232-9863. I recommend subscribing to my e-newsletter to receive regular updates at www.in.gov/h83. To watch hearings and debates online, visit iga.in.gov.

-30-

State Rep. Chris Judy (R-Fort Wayne) represents House District 83,

which includes portion of Allen and Whitley counties.

Click here to download a high-resolution photo.