‘I just want to be safe in school:’ Kentucky students discuss safety after Texas shooting
FRANKFORT , Ky. (WKYT) - In wake of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, students on the Kentucky Department of Education’s Commissioner’s Student Advisory Council opened up about their safety concerns, and worked to develop policy suggestions for school safety.
The panel consists of 30 students from districts across Kentucky.
“In all of the debates that are happening nationally it seemed to me that the student voice is not present in the conversation,” said Kentucky Commissioner of Education Jason Glass, as he opened the discussion.
“I think it’s really scary as a student that we practice all of these drills, that we practice red codes and lockdowns, for the possibility of this becoming a reality and it’s still happening, despite our efforts to be safe in school,” said JuLeah Edie, a recent graduate of Rowan County High School. “I just want to be safe in school.”
“It bothers me that the United States is the only country where school shootings are happening consistently,” said Raima Dutt, a junior at duPont Manual High School in Jefferson County. “In the U.S., guns have become politicized, which allows no progress to be made in preventing the issue from happening in the future.”
“I think it begs the question, why are schools targets?” one student said. “I mean these are children who have their whole life ahead of them, these are civil servants who have devoted decades of their lives to the improvement of their communities and the improvement of the lives of their students.”
The students also worked in small groups to share their thoughts on policy recommendations. They discussed topics like background checks for gun purchases, early warning systems, law enforcement training, mental health supports and unfunded legislative mandates regarding school resource officers in Kentucky schools.
Beginning August 1, a new state law will require school districts to assign SROs to each school.
The students developed three categories that would focus topics of interest. They include: proactive events before a school shooting; actions in the event of an active shooter; and recovery from the effects of a school shooting.
The council will work more on these topics over the summer and fall, and put together a collective policy recommendation for legislators and other education stakeholders.
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