Controversial School Resource Officer bill passes House
FRANKFORT, Ky. – A new bill requiring school resource officers at every Kentucky school is sparking mixed feelings.
House Bill 63 just passed in the House 78-17.
The bill says that every school in Kentucky must have at least one school resource officer on campus at all times. It also says that schools who do not have funding for SROs will need to meet with the State Marshal to make a plan working toward the goal.
Representative Steve Sheldon said this bill is a nudge towards districts who haven’t made plans to add SRO officers, despite the 2019 bill making that a law.
“It was really just to say we’re not going to back up on this. We still really want you all to work towards getting it, and we provided record amounts of money, literally record, history making history amounts of money this year,” said Sheldon. “We’re not air marking every dollar of discretionary funds we give you. we are suggesting that you may have the money to do this, and many schools are and if you don’t, then we’re giving you the out. If you don’t, just wait until you do have it. Just make sure that we have a plan letting us know what you’re going to do to get there.”
Across the aisle, Representative Patti Minter voted yes in 2019 to place SROs in all Kentucky schools. However she says this is an unfunded mandate that makes a false promise.
“If we care about school safety, then we need to pay for it, and in addition we’re facing Law enforcement shortages in many of our local police departments right now,” Minter said. “We just don’t have enough personnel. It’s true here in Bowling Green as well. We don’t want to take police officers off the street in order to put them in positions in schools.”
Metcalfe County Schools Superintendent Josh Hurt admits that this won’t be an easy implementation for every school district, but likes the idea as a whole.
“Holistically, I like the heart of what this legislation is supposed to produce. We want every child to be safe to the greatest extent that we can.”
Now, the bill heads to the senate where leaders will vote on whether or not to make the controversial bill a law.