WMKY

School Safety 'Priority Number One' For Kentucky General Assembly

Jan 9, 2019
Originally published on January 9, 2019 5:09 pm

School safety tops the legislature's agenda during the 2019 session. Wednesday, lawmakers unveiled a bipartisan Senate bill Wednesday that takes a multi-pronged approach to the problem.

"This cannot be the final step. This is a beginning," Republican Sen. Danny Carroll told colleagues.

Senate Bill 1 has its roots in a school safety working group that crisscrossed the state to gather input from teachers, law enforcement, students, and those affected by school violence following the deadly Marshall County High School shooting in 2018.

The result, currently a 30-page bill, lays the groundwork for a number of changes. While lawmakers have yet to hash out specifics, Campbellsville Republican Max Wise points to several areas where lawmakers see opportunities for reform: reexamining the role of resource officers, boosting access to mental health professionals, encouraging better relationships between students and school employees, and standardizing safety measures.

On that last note, lawmakers say the bill contains language holding schools that don't follow safety guidelines accountable, though those consequences have yet to be determined.

Drafters of the bill acknowledge some elements will cost money, but are promising not to heap more unfunded mandates on schools. Funding won't be taken up until 2020 at the earliest.

No gun control measures were considered.

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