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Guest Column from State Representative Scott Lipps: Working to Ensure Our Schools are Safe for Students

November 1, 2018
P. Scott Lipps News

In the wake of school shootings around the country, I’ve found myself thinking about added concerns when sending children off to class. Fearing for a student’s bodily safety should not be a worry for parents and guardians who deal with innumerous stresses associated with raising a child. In an effort to help provide some relief for these concerns, the Ohio House has worked on several initiatives to secure educational environments for students and teachers alike, including House Bill 318, which passed with strong bipartisan support.

Through this legislation, districts, communities, and families will soon see the benefits of non-competitive grants for schools around the state to upgrade facilities and provide for various safety trainings. Schools must work with local law enforcement to determine the best use for the funds. The grants, totaling $12 million, will be distributed through the Ohio Attorney General’s office. To find the grants available to schools in our area, visit:

In addition to grants, House Bill 318 puts training requirements into place for school resource officers (SROs), specialized law enforcement personnel who are placed on school campuses. The required 40 hours of training dedicated to school-based law enforcement will provide SROs with the knowledge and skills needed to protect our most precious asset – Ohio’s youth. Uniformed officers can be overwhelming for young children. By familiarizing students with a regular SRO, a bond can be created that allows these officers to serve as mentors, role models, and even as friends to the students they serve and can help youth have positive interactions with law enforcement outside the school’s campus.

I was proud to show that student safety and wellbeing is a priority of the legislature by supporting House Bill 318. I am hopeful that, through these grants and trainings, schools in every corner of the state will become safer environments where learning can be the primary focus.