I’m Just a Bill, Only a Bill…

Does that title put a song into anyone else’s head?
If it doesn’t and you are assuming that I am a crazy person, well – I am. But you should also go to Youtube and look up the song. It will be sure to light up your next Friday night party.

Before you go though – you should know about what I’m about to tell you, especially if you are an Indiana resident and even more especially if you have school aged children or plan to, is so important.

In real time, legislators at our state house are hearing, voting, and deciding on bills and new laws for our state. There are so many proposed bills and not all of them will be heard… but I have two that should- and I think you will agree with me.

In Indiana’s budget, there is a line for $15 million that allows grant money to schools for physical school safety. This money can be used for School Resource Officers, security cameras, bullet proof glass, etc. This is essential in today’s world. If you’re a parent, like me, that gets physically sick every time you read another headline in the newspapers about a weapon being brought onto school grounds, or worse- used, then you absolutely agree that it is imperative that these funds stay available for schools to use to keep our children safe.

There is currently a bill drafted for each the senate and the house that mirror each other in regards to this budget line. The bills essentially state that the current rules for that money should remain in effect, but that schools should also be able to use this money, if granted, to establish curriculum, safe practices, and new guidelines for approaching mental and emotional safety as well!

I can tell you with certainty that in most, if not all, cases where a child’s life is in physical danger in school (whether that be by a weapon, a thrown chair, or an angry child), there is nearly always an emotional or mental issue happening for that child causing harm.

What if I also told you, with certainty, that even if children are not causing physical harm to themselves or others, all children – including yours – are at a much higher risk of suicide, abuse, anxiety/depression disorders, and the like than they will ever be at risk of even witnessing a school shooting?

Schools have so many boxes to check each school year and their budget is demanding. These bills would allow the schools real opportunities to keep our kids safe physically, emotionally, AND mentally. We could protect the entire child. We could stop the next domino from falling in their mental health and get to a place where all children feel safe in school.

That. is. possible.

So – what can you do?

These two bills are both still waiting to be decided on whether or not they will get a hearing in their respective branches. You can email or call the head of the respective committees to ask that they allow the bill to be heard and voted on. The information is below, along with my own short, to the point email that I sent to each.

To call about House Bill 1322 contact Representative Randall Frye at 317-234-9450 or email h67@iga.in.gov.

To comment on Senate Bill 427, contact Senator Jeff Raatz at 317-232-9400 or email senator.raatz@iga.in.gov

My email:

Dear (Rep. Randall Frye or Senator Jeff Raatz), 

I am writing to ask that you please allow (House Bill 1322 or Senate Bill 427) to be heard. As a childhood sexual abuse survivor, someone that has always dealt with anxiety, and a parent to young children in our education system, I find it imperative that this bill become a law. 
Like so many other parents, I become ill at the thought of my child not being physically safe at school – somewhere they should feel safe every day. I believe that the initiatives our schools are taking to better monitor and protect these children from any physical threats are outstanding.
However, as research will show, most if not all of these physical dangers come from an individual who is suffering from some type of mental illness. This is the reason that I believe schools should be able to seek money from the Secured Schools Fund to not only assist with physical school protection, but also to gain  training, necessary curriculum , and establish common practices to start protecting the spirit and minds of these young children so that each person is safe from the start. 

Thank you for your time, 
Alisha Lewis

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