FRANKFORT, Ky. (WEHT) – Students on the Student Advisory Council (SAC) for the Kentucky Department of Education’s Commissioner’s (KDE) participated in discussing policy change for school safety at their May 31 meeting. This followed a week after the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
“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 after speaking to students about the recent shooting.
The students were able to share their responses to the shooting from anger and sadness to exhaustion and disbelief.
“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.
According to a news release, some popular topics of interest the students discussed consisted of: background checks for gun purchases, early warning systems, law enforcement training, mental health supports and unfunded legislative mandates regarding school resource officers(SRO’s) in Kentucky schools.
This included House Bill 63 which was recently passed by the Kentucky General Assembly which states that it is required for every school in Kentucky to have a School Resource Officer. However, this bill didn’t appropriate any funds to put this into effect.
Three categories were made to focus the discussions, proactive events before a school shooting, actions in the event of an active shooter, and recovery from the effects of a school shooting.
Several students also commented on school shooting statistics in the U.S. compared to other countries. A junior at duPont Manual High School in Jefferson County, Raima Dutt, said,
“It bothers me that the United States is the only country where school shootings are happening consistently. In the U.S. guns have become politicized, which allows no progress to be made in preventing the issue from happening in the future.”
School officials say students will dive deeper into these topics this summer and fall and begin writing a collective policy recommendation for legislators and other education stakeholders to read.
Soylana Mesfin, a recent Eastern High School graduate in Jefferson County said that having these conversations with students, although hard emotionally, is important and should be encouraged by schools, “ we are the ones being affected the most”.