Indiana state leaders are reviewing a proposal that would require an armed school employee on campuses statewide. The House Ways and Means Committee is considering some changes to the legislation, but it is unclear if it will still get the support of Indiana Governor Mike Pence or some top education officials.
“What a school resource officer does is far more than just being an armed guard at the door,” said Officer D.J. Schoeff, a Carmel Police Department officer who works full-time inside a school. “The best climate ‘changer,’ the best opportunity for school safety, is to have a properly selected and trained school resource officer.”
Schoeff believes that every school in Indiana could benefit from investing in a school resource officer, which he claimed was the smarter plan than arming school officials.
“It should be concerning for parents,” said Nate Schnellenberger, President of the Indiana State Teachers Association.
He has concerns about the legislation. He also said he has real financial concerns about requiring every school across the state to pay for an armed guard as outlined in the proposal.
“Certainly, if the state was going to mandate that, then the state needs to put the money where their mouth is,” said Schnellenberger.
“I’m a strong advocate of local control,” said Governor Mike Pence, who also does not back a state requirement.
Governor Pence does wants to see more state investment in kick-starting or growing school resource officer programs, though.
House members specifically looking at the financial burden of the latest version of the proposal will meet again Tuesday morning. They will also review two possible changes: they may give schools more legal protections in case something goes wrong and schools could have the option to opt-out of the proposed state requirement by using a waiver.