Lawmakers host school safety meeting

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ)- State lawmakers came together in Frankfort on Thursday to discuss school safety and what can be done to stop shootings and other violent incidents from continuing to happen.

During a joint house and senate committee meeting, lawmakers heard from school safety experts who encouraged them to take action to protect our schools as soon as possible.

“If you don’t strike now while the iron is hot it may never get done,” said William Modzeleski, a school safety consultant.

The experts went over several ideas including arming teachers, installing metal detectors, and adding more counselors in schools.

“People who are saying that teachers should have guns in schools haven’t been in schools and don’t understand schools,” said Modzeleski.

“If people are intent on doing that event, a metal detector is not going to deter them,” said Modzeleski.

“You know one of the things one of the representatives asked me was ‘Jon if you had all the money in the world what would you do as far as trying to help school safety here,’ and I would say bring more counselors into the schools,” said Jon Akers, with the Kentucky Center for School Safety.

On Tuesday. lawmakers filed House Bill 604 which would do just that.

“This bill in a nutshell is going to provide our schools with more mental health professionals and that’s what they need. They need more mental health professionals that can identify these students that are struggling,” said Rep. Will Coursey, D-Symsonia.

There is also legislation going through right now that would allow designated “school marshals” to carry weapons on campus.

But even with multiple bills, pressure from experts and a national spotlight on the issue many lawmakers here aren’t sure if any school safety legislation will make it through this session given the need to pass both a budget and pension bill.

“I’m all for doing something this session, acting now, acting quickly. However my crystal ball I don’t see that happening. My personal opinion,” said Sen. Stephen West, R-Paris.

“Yeah the pension is important, the budget is important but I can’t think of anything more important than the safety and health and welfare of our students in Kentucky’s public schools and if we don’t address that this session then shame on us. Shame on us,” said Rep. Coursey.

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