Debate over solutions to gun violence in schools continues

Debate over solutions to gun violence in schools continues
Published: Jun. 8, 2022 at 10:03 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - School districts have less than two months to place a school resource officer in every school.

An SRO in Powell County says he doesn’t know how districts and police departments will be able to fund this. They’ve even started to apply for state grants to find the money somewhere.

“Having that first line of defense versus no defense in some situations where an SRO might not be present, I mean it’s just paramount,” Sgt. Ian Morton with the Stanton Police Department said.

Morton also works as an SRO in Powell County. Morton says right now, the district can afford one full time and one part time SRO to cover the four campuses they’re assigned to. But a new bill will require an SRO at every campus, whether the district can afford that or not.

“You’ve already got somebody on the ground. Not only are you going to be able to potentially eliminate the threat immediately, but you’re also going to be able to convey information to a dispatch center or law enforcement in the area and get help a lot more rapidly,” Morton said.

House Bill 63 won’t fund the new staffing requirements. Sgt. Morton said they can work with the school security marshall to hire officers, but even then, they’ll have to apply for grants to meet funding requirements.

Now some are suggesting their own solutions.

“We take an oath to defend our constitution against enemies foreign and domestic, and even though we may not be in uniform anymore, that doesn’t expire,” said Jeremy Harrell with the Veteran’s Club.

Harrell, Veteran’s Club founder, spoke to our sister station and said he suggests veterans be allowed to become SRO’s, dress in plain clothes and possibly carry their guns concealed.

“We talk all the time about veterans who struggle and law enforcement retirees who struggle when they get done doing such an honorable profession with, ‘what do I do now?’ Well, this would be a great opportunity to get them back into a field they’re specialized in,” Harrell said.

House Bill 63 requires school districts assign SROs to each school by August 1.

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