INDIANAPOLIS – In December 2018, after the second of two Indiana school shootings in a year, Governor Holcomb pledged action, repeatedly pointing to mental health initiatives as the crux of his plan. A year after a near tragedy in Noblesville and a legislative session afterHolcomb’s comments, it’s clear the first-term governor was all talk, no action and utterly failed children.
From FOX 59 INFocus EP 64 Showdown equals Shutdown?
(01:03 – 02:00) SPEHLER: “We had another incident involving gunfire at one of our schools this week. You’ve talked a lot about school safety and there are some proposals that are being talked about for next year but how do we keep this from happening in our schools?
HOLCOMB: “We’ll there’s no one solution to this. This is obviously folks struggling with mental health issues if you look at what’s the common denominator and usually, there were some signs before the incident happened. And so Indiana will enact, implement and execute all of those school safety recommendations. That leans heavily into how do we connect with and apply more mental health resources to schools and to families in real time and before an incident happens…”
(03:22-04:22) SPEHLER: “We spoke with a parent’s group in Noblesville that was critical of your school safety agenda. It fell short, they wanted several changes including: responsible ownership, keeping guns away from those who shouldn’t have them. They said Indiana cannot have a comprehensive school safety plan if we continue to ignore the role of firearms.
HOLCOMB: “…absolutely there needs to be some responsible gun ownership… We noticed in all of our discussions putting together the school safety report, there was a lot of consensus around addressing mental health and being able to react to early warning signs…”
Holcomb promised to deliver on mental health then was unable or unwilling to take on ultra-conservative lobbying groups to get it done.
“But not all of the task force’s recommendations sailed through the legislature.
“One of them would have allowed schools to access the school safety grant fund for mental health services and social emotional programming. That language was removed in the second half of the legislative session after some conservative lobbying groups raised concerns about parental rights.”
Parents noticed. Noblesville Stands Together chided the inaction and questioned Holcomb’s intentions after he spiked the football on legislation to loosen Indiana’s gun laws in a bill signing ceremony at the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting
From the Indy Star Op-ed: Indiana legislature fails to address gun violence in schools
“Legislators rushed to deliver on hardening schools — better doors, windows, and technology. Even medical kits to stop wounded children from bleeding out. This is low-hanging fruit — relatively free of political risk. They checked the box. But what about the hard stuff?
Even though the governor’s report contained the words “mental health” over 100 times, the legislature largely rejected these proposals.
But in the end, extreme ideological interests smothered efforts to identify troubled children and intervene before violence occurs.
Bewilderingly, the governor actually signed this law in a celebration at the National Rifle Association’s convention.Yes, Indiana’s governor walked onto a stage at the NRA convention, and laid a trophy at the feet of Wayne LaPierre — an act so startling in its lack of sensitivity, it is hard to fathom.
Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody believed there was simply no excuse for Holcomb’s disappearance on the mental health aspect of school safety.
“Governor Holcomb looks like a hypocrite and a coward willing to acquiesce to the demands of extremist groups over protecting children in our schools,” said Zody. “Holcomb talks. And talks. But the results speak for themselves. This governor values appeasing over expanding access to mental health services to keep students safe. It’s shameful and proves just how ineffective Holcomb truly is.”