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Incoming State Representative Chris Campbell talks her goals for education

Friday December 14th marks six years since the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre. Some are calling for change as more shootings have happened in our schools since then.

Posted: Dec. 14, 2018 6:38 PM
Updated: Dec. 14, 2018 6:39 PM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Friday December 14th marks six years since 20 first graders and six educators were killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre. Some are calling for change as more shootings have happened in our schools since then.

"I feel like everything is 100% preventable," said Sarah Rayber, a Purdue Sophomore from Evansville, Indiana.

Some are saying we need tighter guns laws, others are saying it's a matter of addressing mental health issues. West Lafayette’s incoming State Representative Chris Campbell said. it may just be a combination of both.

"These are horrible situations," she said. Adding that she thinks we should put money towards mental health counselors rather than metal detectors.

"We find funding for our mental health providers so that we can provide mental health counselors in schools," she said.

This comes one day after Indiana’s most recent brush with a school shooting. Fourteen year old Brandon Clegg exchanged gunfire with police at Dennis Intermediate School in Richmond, Indiana on Thursday.

Incidents like what happened in Richmond, Sandy Hook, and Noblesville can take a toll on our kids mental health. Representative Campbell said it's not just shootings that are causing students problems.

"We have the school safety issue, we have children in poverty, we have children who are abused, and we have drug addiction issues," she said.

In terms of preventing school shootings, she want to hold irresponsible gun owners accountable.

"I am fine with the second amendment, you are completely entitled to have a gun, but you need to be a responsible gun owner," she said.

Republican state Senator Jim Merritt is working on legislation that would require gun owners to properly store their weapons so children can't get a hold of them. This is something Campbell said she supports.

"You can't legislate common sense but we can certainly hold people accountable," she said.

Rayber said she thinks that either stricter gun laws or more mental health support would help the problem.

"Whether it be tighter gun laws or more mental health, I think anything would be beneficial to help stop it," she said.

As our newly elected midterm officials take their role in the statehouse, she said she hopes that people can come together to stop this from happening again.

"Hope everyone sees what needs to be changed and actually does something about it versus sticking to their side of the party,” she said.

Representative Campbell said she is looking to protect our schools, both fiscally and physically. The money has to come from somewhere to fund these counselors, but she said it would be worth it to find it.

One thing she wants to push for push for is change to the private school voucher program, saying too much money is being taken from public schools.

The voucher program is also known as the Choice Scholarship Program.This is where students who come from low-income families, kids who have need special education, and kids who previously attended an “F” public school, can apply for a taxpayer-funded scholarship to attend a private school.

However, even though these private schools are receiving state funding, they don’t have to follow any of the rules that public schools do.

The eligibility of a student based on income is linked to the Federal Free or Reduced Lunch Program income guidelines.

In the 2013-2014, the income eligibility to receive a 50% tuition scholarship for a 4-person household was raised to $91,020 per year. Campbell said that number is too high for the original intent of the voucher program.

She also said that if this program is to continue, they need to level the playing field.

“If we are going to take public school dollars and put those into vouchers, those schools are receiving our tax dollars and should be held to that same accountability regardless of what that school is," she said.

Click here to learn more about the Choice Scholarship Program.

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