• Senate Enrolled Act 352, the “criminal gang” law that requires schools to start tracking criminal gang activity in their schools and report it to the state. The law is to be phased in over several years, with help from the state Department of Education. It includes, for example, a requirement that compels schools to train students, faculty and staff in how to recognize and report criminal gang activity. By 2017, the state DOE will be required to report to the governor the level of gang activity in the state’s K-12 schools.
• House Enrolled Act 1423, also known as the “anti-bullying” bill. Indiana already requires schools to have policies in place to discourage the bullying of vulnerable students, but this new law significantly strengthens those existing provisions. Among other things, it requires schools to establish procedures for reporting incidents of bullying and to adopt disciplinary rules around bullying, both in and out of school. The mother of an Indiana teenager who committed suicide after being bullied by classmates testified for the bill.
• Senate Enrolled Act 517, which permits some school corporations that are financially strapped because of property tax caps to transfer money from their general fund to the transportation fund or school bus replacement fund.
• House Enrolled Act 1427, which pushes the “pause” button on full implementation of the Common Core State Standards, a national set of academic standards adopted by Indiana in 2010 for its K-12 schools. The law requires the legislature to hold hearings this summer and fall on the impact of Common Core, including its fiscal impact on schools and the state. In stalling the Common Core standards, it also temporarily keeps in place the use of ISTEP as the state’s high-stakes standardized assessment test for students in elementary and middle schools.
Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org