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Indiana schools granted $23.9M for safety enhancements

Grants totaling $22.9 million have been awarded to 425 Indiana schools from the state’s Secured School Safety Fund. The fund has provided nearly $133 million in funding for school safety since 2013.

“These grants allow Indiana to make a real and tangible impact on students, staff and administrators at schools across the state,” said Rusty Goodpaster, director of the Secured School Safety Board, which awarded the grants Thursday.

There have been seven school shootings in Indiana since 2001, the most recent in 2018 in separate incidents in Noblesville and Richmond.

For this round of grants, $19 million was provided by state appropriations and $3.9 million from funds unspent in previous grant cycles. All eligible grant applications were fully funded in this cycle.

By law the funds may be used to employ a school resource officer, conduct a threat assessment, purchase equipment to restrict access to the school or expedite the notification of first responders, support firearms training, support the implementation of a student and parent support services program or for one-time startup costs for an active alert warning system.

The allocation of funds for fiscal year 2023 includes $15.6 million for 272 school resource officers and law enforcement personnel; $1,500 for one threat assessment; $6.5 million for 133 purchases of equipment; 1,800 for one active event warning system; $37,000 for training and $835,000 for 18 student and parent support programs.

All grants must be matched by the schools at either 25%, 50% or 100% depending on the size of the school district, cost of the project and purpose of the funding. Grants may not be used for vehicles, uniforms or vape detectors.

“This funding [will] allow schools to address their specific safety needs through additional personnel and programs designed to prepare for and prevent school violence,” Gov. Eric Holcomb said in a statement.

During the 2020-2021 school year, there were 93 school shootings with casualties according to the National Center for Education Statistics. That included 43 shootings resulting in deaths and 50 shootings with injuries only. There were 53 reported school shootings with no casualties. Fifty-nine elementary schools, 57 high schools, 21 middle or junior high schools and 8 schools of other types also had school shootings.

This article originally appeared on The Center Square.

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