Kentucky leads nation in school safety, two day safety conference at EKU

The Safe Schools and Communities Conference will continue June 23 in Richmond

RICHMOND, Ky. (WTVQ) – Wednesday was the first day of the Safe Schools and Communities Conference for administrators, educators and school resource officers (SROs) throughout the state. The conference taking place as the nation sees a rise in school gun violence. Here in Kentucky, officials say the state is in the right direction when it comes to school safety, safety that will soon be enhanced for school districts.

“[The Kentucky Association of School Resource Officers] is all about protect, educate and mentor our children. We never think of ourselves as hired guns in a building and that’s it,” says James Poynter, president of KYASRO. “We’re more about building relationships and hopefully we can change any negative image that some people may have about the police and you know, so they know we’re there to help.”

KYASRO says our state’s SROs undergo more training to start than some other state’s get throughout their whole career. Come August, every school will have to have an SRO with the new law signed by Governor Andy Beshear.

“Some places may have to make some tough decision about where they spend their money, where they allocate it, but at the end of the day, aside from educating, we have to keep our kids safe. Because parents are putting kids on school busses, they’re dropping them off at the front door or leaving the house walking to school, that’s their most valuable asset and it’s Kentucky’s most valuable asset,” says Poynter.

For years, this conference has brought educators and SROs statewide together to keep everyone up-to-date on the best ways to protect the kids. This year, some of the breakouts include mental health professionals, information on trauma-informed care and a session to explain the newest laws regarding school safety.

“Kentucky is leading the nation in training, preparation, security, all across the board,” says Poynter. “We’re now being looked at as role models because of what we are doing.”

The second day of the conference will take place all day Thursday in Richmond where keynote speaker Jermaine Galloway will focus on drug trends in and around schools.

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