Advocates, officers react after Nashville school shooting

“We live in such a culture of gun violence. It’s all coming down to, right now, children."
Published: Mar. 28, 2023 at 9:55 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - In the wake of the deadly Nashville school shooting, we are getting reactions from advocates against violence who say significant changes are needed to combat gun violence across the country.

“We live in such a culture of gun violence. It’s all coming down to, right now, children. Right now in this country, we have more children dying of gun violence than anything else,” said Kathi Crowe with the Ky. chapter of Moms Demand Action

Since the school shooting, Crowe has been navigating how to talk to her nine-year-old grandson, and she’s been advocating for stricter gun laws through the Kentucky Chapter of Moms Demand Action for years prior. It is clear to Crowe that the group’s work is far from over.

“How many more? How many more events are going to happen? How many more kids are going to die?” said Crowe. “I’m sad, but I’m really angry. We demand action. We do.”

This latest shooting hits close to home for those in the Commonwealth. State School Security Marshall Ben Wilcox says this is why every public school has a set standard they must meet and have since the School Safety and Resiliency Act was passed in 2019.

“Reupping those plans. Making sure we’re doing our procedures and lockdowns. Making sure we’ve built relationships with first responders. So things like this, when they do happen, we’re ready,” said Wilcox.

Wilcox’s department works closely with Jon Akers with the Kentucky Center for School Safety. For the past year, they have been working to recruit and fund departments to ensure an armed school resource officer is on every campus.

“Let the students know the police can be their friends, that there is somebody out there who is out there to protect them. That’s one reason why we want our SRO officers to have firearms, though, that if the bad guy comes in, we want the first officer to be there to address that, to put it in those terms,” Akers said.

Wilcox says the state’s School Safety and Resiliency Act has been studied and duplicated in several surrounding states as well as the department’s Handle With Care program, which teaches law enforcement to notify school personnel of student-involved trauma.

And while the Covenant School in Nashville is a private school, just last week, lawmakers passed a law allowing private schools in Kentucky to partner with law enforcement agencies like many public schools do.

Kentucky - Safe School Reporting Tool is an anonymous tip line to report bullying, violence or other school issues.

Visit the Kentucky Center For School Safety site to learn more about the safety plans in place.