New recommendations for school safety in Indiana

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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - State leaders released new recommendations Friday for keeping your children safe at school.

Among them, State Police will set up an anonymous tip line, the state Department of Homeland Security will create a statewide School Safety Hub to put state resources for schools and parents into a single online location, and the Department of Education will distribute new guidance from the state fire marshal on unplanned fire alarms.

“Ensuring every one of our students has a safe place to learn and grow is of the utmost importance,” Gov. Eric Holcomb said in a statement that came with the report's release Friday. “This assessment is an important step toward helping our schools be better prepared for the unknown.”

The recommendations were compiled by a working group formed by Indiana Department of Homeland Security Director Bryan Langley and David Woodward, the state Department of Education's director of school building physical security and safety.

Based on those recommendations, Gov. Holcomb has ordered the state budget agency to determine how much each will cost and how they can be paid for so Holcomb can work them into his 2019 legislative priorities. He also ordered the state's Integrated Public Safety Commission to create a self-evaluation tool for districts to make sure communications systems and activities are implemented properly at each school.

The recommendations fell into three categories:

  • Enhanced mental health services
  • Safety equipment, technology, tools and training
  • Policy or legislative considerations regarding school safety

Last month, the governor announced the state would make handheld metal detectors available at no cost to traditional public, charter and private schools that request them. The 3,231 metal detectors requested by 369 school entities in this first round are expected to arrive at schools later this month. Schools that didn't apply in the first round will have another chance this fall.

Check out the full report on the state's website.