Legislators taking up Indiana school safety proposal

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Indiana legislators are expected to begin action on a measure aimed at improving the level of protection at the state's schools.

An initial proposal introduced last month after the deadly Connecticut school shooting called for $10 million to pay for more Indiana school resource officers. Supporters said they were responding to concerns from parents and teachers over bullying and gang violence in schools.

The Senate Appropriations Committee is scheduled to take up the bill on Thursday.

Senate President Pro Tem David Long said recently that legislators were overhauling the plan, trying to find uniform standards for school safety, and determining how to help schools pay for better security.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller supports the plan, and his office completed a needs assessment survey on school safety prior to the Newtown mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Zoeller said that somewhere between one third to one quarter of the state's schools already have this type of security in in place.

Aside from being a visible security presence, school resource officers - SROs - aid in the creation and implementation of the school's safety plan, act as liaisons between school officials and local law enforcement, deter bullying on campuses, participate and hold educational programs.

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