Louisville lawmaker seeks to change school resource officer law | News

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The discussion about school resource officers in Kentucky has been a hot topic after the state’s largest school district rolled out its school safety plans earlier this week.

Now, a Louisville lawmaker is seeking to change the current law by ensuring ORS are on every school campus.

State Rep. Kevin Bratcher (R-Louisville) wants to tighten the language of the existing law. Bratcher says many schools, including Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS), are not following the law.

JCPS is looking to add two new positions for School Safety. Security administrators, a person who works inside the building, who is unarmed, who manages and assesses threats; with school security guards, an armed and sworn officer, who patrols three to seven buildings by car.

JCPS Superintendent Marty Pollio told Tuesday’s board meeting that the proposal was within the law.

“We will have one in every school, even elementary,” Pollio said. “The SSO will be assigned to this school.”

But Bratcher says the SSO “attribution” is not compliant, which is why he’s adding a replacement to the committee. The surrogate says SROs must work on-site, full-time, in the building or campus buildings.

“Fern Creek High School and Fern Creek Elementary are on the same ground,” Bratcher said. “So an ORS would suffice for that.”

The committee alternate reads: “Local school boards shall ensure, for each campus in the district, that at least one (1) certified School Resource Officer is assigned and works on-site full-time in the building. or school buildings on campus.If sufficient funds or qualified personnel are not available for this purpose for each campus, a local board shall meet the requirements of this subsection on a per-campus basis until that a certified school resource officer is assigned and works on-site full-time at each campus in the district.”

Bratcher says JCPS’s idea of ​​”roaming” SROs is not how the law is supposed to be interpreted, nor does JCPS’ proposed security administrator position cover it.

“An SRO is a sworn law enforcement officer who has the ability to arrest and suppress security concerns,” Bratcher said.

The law would affect more than the JCPS. According to a 2020-21 report from the Kentucky State Schools Safety Office, more than 700 Commonwealth schools do not have full-time SROs.

Bratcher says the law would work so schools don’t have to have ORS on campus right away. But districts must show progress to fill the positions.

“All the Kentucky safety law requires is to move toward an SRO on every campus in Kentucky,” Bratcher said.

The union that represents JCPS teachers did not respond to the WDRB’s request for comment on the proposal.

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