schools plan for state safety funds

GREENFIELD — Hancock County’s school districts are in the final planning stages for using soon-to-be-released state funding intended to improve school safety.

Three of the county’s four corporations are moving forward with plans to hire additional officers to work in the schools using grant money from the two-year Secured School Safety program, which awards up to $35,000 to districts with fewer than 1,000 students and up to $50,000 for those with more than 1,000 students.

With funding set to be distributed in the coming weeks, school officials say they are prepared to move quickly, some hoping to implement new school safety plans as early as next month.

The Greenfield-Central School Board held a special meeting a week ago to discuss hiring a second resource officer, a measure school officials say will act as a deterrent to potential criminals and provide children with a resource to report problems.

The officer will work in the corporation’s elementary, intermediate and junior high schools. The district already has one officer posted at the high school.

The discussion came just days before a fatal shooting at Purdue University in which a teaching assistant was killed.

Board President Retta Livengood said her son attends classes on Purdue’s Anderson campus, and the news of yet another school shooting hit close to home. It also reinforced the need for extra security measures at all education levels, she said.

“I think just an added presence is good for a lot of reasons, a lot of issues,” Livengood said. “Unfortunately, there are people who make really bad choices out here, but I think having someone who is trained in a building can help, can impact, hopefully in a very positive manner.”

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