Senate committee advances Cook’s bill enhancing school safety communication

Posted by: Allison Vanatsky  | Thursday, April 11, 2019

STATEHOUSE (April 11, 2019) – The Senate Homeland Security and Transportation Committee recently voted in support of State Rep. Tony Cook’s (R-Cicero) bill that would open lines of communication between schools and law enforcement to better protect students.

Currently, law enforcement and school corporations cannot share a student’s alarming behavior, school files or criminal records, even if it pertains to public safety threats. Cook’s proposal would enable school corporations or law enforcement agencies to request certain, pertinent information from each other about a student for the purpose of enhancing safety.

“All schools today have some form of law enforcement protection in school resource officers, but there is more we can do to help address potential threats in the community,” Cook said. “When a child shows warning signs that they are headed for trouble, whether that is reckless behavior in school or a criminal record, it is absolutely critical that schools and law enforcement are able to exchange information. This bill creates more opportunities for officials to reach out to that student before they act out in an extreme or criminal manner.”

Only top school administrators would be permitted to release student information. To protect student privacy, school administrators and law enforcement officers would not be compelled to hand over records they did not feel are relevant. This discretion would help prevent this system from being abused. No referrals or student data would be kept in any permanent educational file.

House Bill 1398 now moves to the full Senate for consideration. Visit iga.in.gov to learn more.

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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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