Indiana Governor Mike Pence announced on Wednesday that he will not cut the state’s school safety grant program, but instead will add an additional $3.5 million to it. Sounds great right? Finally we’re allocating money to keep schools safe right? Let’s take a closer look….
The Indiana Secured School Safety Grant Program takes applications from school entities and awards grant funds of up to $50,000 per year, but the funds must be used for security assessments, purchasing security equipment, or employing school resource officers. Not one word – or one dime – for training the people who will be actually responding to crisis events – the educators.
Am I glad to see money allocated toward school safety? Yes. Do I think that School Resource Officers are a valuable tool in keeping schools safe? Yes, sort of… But how about let’s spend it where we can do the most good, by training every educator and student, not just employing a single officer.
For $50,000 most, if not all, school districts could train literally every staff member, student, and parent in comprehensive, all hazards crisis response and develop capacities and skills that they will carry with them for the foreseeable future – or you could hire a resource officer for maybe a school year. Oh, and what about those schools who aren’t fortunate enough to get a piece of the Indiana safety grant pie? I guess they are on their own…