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Senate retools school security fix

– Indiana Senate Republicans are in the middle of overhauling a safety measure aimed at better protecting schools after a shooting spree last month in Connecticut killed 20 first-graders.

Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, said Thursday his team is looking at ways to improve the proposal that Attorney General Greg Zoeller and Republican Sen. Pete Miller of Avon introduced.

The initial proposal called for $10 million to pay for more school resource officers in response to concerns from parents and teachers over bullying and gang violence in schools.

But Long said the measure should better account for threats outside the classroom in wake of the Dec. 14 shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.

Six educators were also killed in the massacre.

“Across the board in Indiana we need to find some uniform standards, and help (schools) pay for it,” he said. “That’s going to be the big issue. How do we make this as cost-effective as possible?”

He said he plans to deliver more details on the revised measure next month.

The Zoeller and Miller legislation calls for $10 million in matching grants for school corporations to each hire another resource officer. The measure would expand an existing program that places police officers in schools to provide security and often mentoring and community relations.

Zoeller and Miller said they expected lawmakers to tinker with the measure after they introduced it last month.

They said although the legislation came after the Newtown shooting, it was actually drafted based on a survey of Indiana parents and teachers before the shooting.