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January 23, 2018

 Rep. Jeff Greer, D-Brandberg, asks the House to participate in a moment of silence following a school shooting that killed two and injured 17 others at Marshall County High School. ( Daniel Desrochers Rep. Jeff Greer, D-Brandberg, asks the House to participate in a moment of silence following a school shooting that killed two and injured 17 others at Marshall County High School. ( Daniel Desrochers This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Public and private schools in Kentucky that cannot afford to hire a law-enforcement officer could designate one of their employees as an armed “school marshal” under Senate Bill 103, filed Tuesday by Sen. Stephen West.

West, R-Paris, said he quickly filed his bill in response to the shooting at Marshall County High School that killed two students and wounded 14 others. The bill is a duplicate of a previous measure he filed in 2016.

School resource officers are sworn law-enforcement officers with specialized training and established relationships with local police agencies. But given budget constraints, there are only 230 of them in roughly half of Kentucky’s counties, according to the Kentucky Center for School Safety.

By comparison, a school marshal would be a designated school employee who is already on the payroll and who has a concealed-carry permit, West said. The school would have to identify the marshal to Kentucky State Police as part of its “active shooter” response plan, so that officers arriving during a crisis would know which employee is armed. The marshal’s gun would have to be safely locked away at most times.

“This is an option for school districts that can’t afford a school resource officer,” West said Wednesday. “The person who is appointed school marshal, they even buy their own gear, so it costs the district nothing.”

“When I brought this bill forward (in 2016), I was trying to convince my colleagues,” he said. “I was like, ‘If we don’t do something, we are going to have another Heath High School or another Sandy Hook situation, it’s just a matter of time.’ And yesterday proved that to be the case.”

There was a school resource officer at Marshall County High School on Tuesday morning when the deadly shooting occurred there, according to Kentucky State Police. The 15-year-old shooter, who had a handgun, was taken into custody. However, many facts about the shooting have yet to be released.

In 2016, West’s original school marshals bill was assigned to the Senate Committee on Licensing, Occupations and Administrative Regulations, but it did not get a hearing. The Kentucky Association of Chiefs of Police objected to that bill, arguing that school employees with a concealed-carry license are not the equivalent of trained police officers, and they conceivably could make a shoot-out at a school even more chaotic.

By John Cheves
Lexington Herald Leader




0 #1 Not Sure 2018-01-26 18:14
OK kid if you don't stop shooting I'm going to get my locked up gun and threaten or shoot you with it - stupid!

One per school - stupider!

Why don't you authorize conceal carry for teachers and provide active shooter response training. With additional requirements such as physical fitness, etc. There's a smarter way to do this - it is a good idea to use existing staff, because in most cases there is staff that would be willing to take on this role and responsibility.

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