Legislators in Indiana are pushing to enact a law requiring all state public and charter schools have at least one armed employee on campus.
The bill was endorsed by the state’s House Education Committee last week, and Indiana’s House Ways and Means Committee is scheduled to debate the proposal at a hearing scheduled for April 15.
The mandate, proposed by Republican state Rep. Jim Lucas, was annexed to Senate Bill 1 earlier this month. Under the legislation, a “designated protection officer” must be on school grounds at all times during normal school hours; the bill also allows schools to disclose personal student information and records to school resource officers (SRO) or other law enforcement officials without requiring prior consent under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act.
A state Senate budget proposal released last week would allocate $10 million to Indiana schools for security purposes. According to Lucas, the proposal allows more flexibility for school corporations. “They can use the funds to hire armed security, or pay for extensive training for their staff,” he told The South Bend Tribune. “There’s no reason why we [can’t] train the staff, or teachers or even janitors.”
If passed, the law would be the first of its kind in the nation.
Gov. Mike Pence, a Republican, said he is a proponent of allowing armed personnel in state schools, but he also believes the decision to employ SROs or to arm faculty is a decision best left to local school systems.
"I always believe that decisions in our local schools are best made at the local level, and I have no objection to allowing schools across Indiana to have a better opportunity to have an armed school resource officer or an armed school protection officer,” he told The Indianapolis Star.