INDIANAPOLIS | Many Northwest Indiana school corporations will be getting or keeping a school resource officer this fall, or buying additional school safety equipment -- thanks to a state grant.
The Indiana Secured School Safety Board awarded some $9 million this month to more than 250 school districts across the state. The money follows another $9 million in school safety grants distributed last November.
Through the program, Indiana schools are eligible for up to $50,000 a year in state safety grants that they must match with local funds.
The money can be used to hire a school resource officer, conduct a threat assessment or buy safety equipment that restricts access to the school building.
"All of Indiana's students deserve to learn and grow in a safe environment," Gov. Mike Pence said. "This is a large step in our partnership with Hoosier families and the local schools to help protect Indiana's students."
Hoosier lawmakers established the school safety grant program in 2013 following the Newtown, Conn., elementary school shooting that killed 20 children and six adults.
Attorney General Greg Zoeller said the school resource officer program, which deploys specially trained local police officers at Indiana schools, is especially popular and useful.
"School resource officers don't just provide building security and investigate crime on school grounds; they also enhance the working relationship between schools and law enforcement and serve as good role models to young people," Zoeller said. "I'm convinced the rapport SROs can build up with students can serve to prevent and deter crimes and bullying in our schools."
The grants awarded this month to Northwest Indiana schools are:
Thea Bowman Leadership Academy, Gary, $35,000 for SRO; Aspire Charter Academy, Gary, $2,220 for equipment; Charter School of the Dunes, Gary, $15,682.50 for SRO and equipment; Crown Point Community School Corp. $50,000 for equipment; Griffith Public Schools $38,141 for SRO and equipment; Hanover Community School Corp., Cedar Lake, $27,687.76 for SRO; Lake Ridge Schools, Gary, $50,000 for SRO and equipment; Lake Station Community Schools $50,000 for SRO and equipment; Merrillville Community Schools $50,000 for equipment; River Forest Community School Corp., Hobart, $6,588 for equipment; School City of East Chicago $7,500 for threat assessment; School City of Hobart $25,700 for SRO and equipment; School Town of Highland $50,000 for SRO and equipment; School Town of Munster $27,000 for SRO and equipment; Tri-Creek School Corp., Lowell, $47,206 for SRO and equipment; Whiting School City $50,000 for equipment.
Duneland School Corp., Chesterton, $50,000 for equipment; Metropolitan School District of Boone Township, Hebron, $9,327.06 for equipment; Neighbors’ New Vistas High School, Portage, $35,000 for SRO; Portage Township Schools $49,596 for equipment; Porter Township School Corp., Valparaiso, $22,000 for SRO and equipment.
LaPorte Community School Corp. $44,000 for SRO; Metropolitan School District of New Durham Township, Westville, $26,534 for SRO and equipment; Michigan City Area Schools $50,000 for equipment; New Prairie United School Corp., New Carlisle, $50,000 for equipment; South Central Community School Corp., Union Mills, $18,000 for SRO and equipment.
North Newton School Corp., Morocco, $50,000 for equipment.
Kankakee Valley School Corp., Wheatfield, $50,000 for SRO and equipment; Rensselaer Central School Corp. $26,670 for SRO.