Jay School Corporation hopeful school safety grant could pay for gun safety training

The push for increased security comes after several school shootings across the country in the last year, including two in Indiana.

Posted: Jan. 24, 2019 8:27 PM
Updated: Jan. 24, 2019 10:12 PM

PORTLAND, Ind. (WFFT) - Indiana lawmakers are trying to find solutions to protect Hoosier students while they are at school.

The push for increased security comes after several school shootings across the country in the last year, including two in Indiana.

Many proposals in the legislature include expanding how schools can use the School Safety Fund, many focusing on mental health.

Jay School Corporation is hoping this means means it can be more flexible with how it spends their portion of the money.

The school district is already taking precautions by adding mental health resources, securing schools with bullet proof windows and locking guns in every building.

"Right now there is no ability in state law with the safety grant to use dollars to train employees to access firearms safely," said Jay School Corporation superintendent Jeremy Gulley.

Gulley said staff members who volunteered went through gun safety training over the summer, but the school paid for it out of the budget.

"And we will continue to if we have to. We think it makes sense that if school district's move in this direction to school students as we have had to do, people ought to be trained well," he said.

Jay Schools already gets $50,000 from the safety grant, but the money can only be used for things like a school resource officer.

Gulley doesn't think it is fair to expand the grant to only some things schools are currently doing.

"One (bill) would allow you to use your school safety dollars to train a dog to detect a gun. That's probably a good idea for some schools to consider. However, we can't use those dollars to train our employees to properly use a gun," Gulley said.

It will likely be awhile before the grant can be used for training. Gulley said it will likely die in a Senate committee.

However, Diana Logue said something should be done now.

"I think it is something that needs to be pushed up as fast as it can be pushed up. Security of our kids is really important," she said.

Gun safes were being installed in schools across Jay County.

At least two staff members in each building are authorized to use it, unlocking the safe with a finger print. Once the safe is unlocked, a text will be sent to the Jay County Sheriff and superintendent.

Gulley said he's been contacted by other schools considering a similar security plan.

"You are going to probably see more school districts, particularly in the rural parts of the state, to start to consider this option," he said.

Gulley added allowing staff members to have access to guns may not be the best solution for every school in the state. He just wants to be able to have the flexibility to use the safety grant he is already getting to train his staff members on the guns.

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