Chyung supports fellow state legislator’s efforts to include mental health services for students in House school safety bill

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INDIANAPOLIS ­– State Rep. Chris Chyung (D-Dyer) supported an amendment offered by State Rep. Tonya Pfaff (D-Terre Haute) to make sure that mental health services are a crucial part of school safety plans across Indiana.

Pfaff’s amendment to House Bill 1004 would allow school corporations to use money from the state’s Secured School Fund, Safe School Fund and School Safety Advance Program to provide school-based mental health services to students.

“This amendment is an important part of the school safety conversation that the Governor has left out of his school safety bill: mental health,” Chyung said. “More school districts across the state should be able to apply for grant funding that will help improve school safety and access to mental health services for students.”    

When House Bill 1004 was heard in the House Veterans Affairs and Public Safety Committee, which includes Chyung as a member, the lawmaker pointed out that the initial version of the bill would limit larger schools to receive less than one-fifth the level of per-student safety funding than that of much smaller schools. Based on those concerns, an amendment was introduced and adopted by the body to fund school safety grants that are not dependent on school size. 

The Indiana Secured School Safety Grant Fund was created in 2013 to support initiatives to ensure schools are safe and secure. The program supports a dedicated state grant fund that provides matching grants to school corporations, accredited non-public schools, charter schools or a coalition of school corporations and/or charter schools applying jointly to: employ a school resource officer; conduct a threat assessment; and/or purchase equipment to restrict access to the school or expedite the notification of first responders.

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