State Lawmakers Unveil School Safety Measures

Jan 9, 2019

School safety panel members offer details Wednesday on Senate Bill 1.
Credit Stu Johnson

Kentucky lawmakers will be asked this session to adopt new policies to improve safety in public schools across the Commonwealth.  Leaders of a school safety working group detailed recommendations Wednesday in Frankfort.

The legislative panel formed following the Marshall County High School shooting incident almost a year ago which took the lives of two students, injuring many others.  Leaders from both chambers call it the priority this short session and stress it’s a bipartisan bill.  Working Group Co-Chair Max Wise says additional staff training is called for in the measure. “We’re going to look at the role of the school resource officer, which from the traveling that we did and the input we received, is probably the most important position of protecting our students and faculty within the school walls,” says Wise

Wise says the state cost for implementing the legislation has not been determined, but funding will likely not be taken up until 2020.  The panel co-chair says additional school accountability is also sought, but there is no language to allow the arming of teachers or reference to gun control measures.

School Safety Working Group Co-Chair Representative John Carney says the school atmosphere remains a key component.  “Cause it’s all about relationships and culture.  I think if any of you have been in any of our meetings, you’ve heard me say that.  It’s about relationship and culture.  If you build relationships between staff and students, you cut down your risk of something happening tremendously,” notedsCarney.

Sen. Danny Carrol, who represents the district which is home to the Marshall County High School, says many local school boards are moving forward with safety initiatives.  Carrol says, even to the extent of raising taxes, specifically for that purpose.  Fayette County is one such district. After the briefing, Carrol says he’s not aware of any other school district raising revenue locally specifically for safety measures.