In a refreshing dose of reality, one Kentucky school system — Jefferson County — announced it is considering adding armed safety officers. The measure attempts to increase student safety in an era where gun-free zones remain targets. The officers would focus on safety issues, not the disciplining of students.
Jefferson County Schools Considers Armed Officers
“We need to make sure that these officers have a great desire to help and teach these kids, be a mentor to them,” said Minerva Virola, the JCPS project manager, according to lex18.com.
Rather than law enforcement, the officers would be employees of the school district. In effect, Jefferson County Schools would have control over the hiring of the officers, according to lex18.com.
“We want someone who’s able to go towards that threat, not someone who’s going to go along with the teachers and the students with a radio and telling them where they’re at,” Virola said, according to lex18.com.
School officials said it would require all officers to undertake on-going, consistent training. The training would require 60 hours more than what Kentucky requires for SROs, according to lex18.com. Above all, school officials want capable officers to intervene when danger looms.
“We want someone who’s able to go towards that threat, not someone who’s going to go along with the teachers and the students with a radio telling them where they’re at,” said Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio, according to lex18.com.
Ninety-percent of middle and high school teacher want a safety officer in the school, reported lex18.com. But some didn’t necessarily want an official police presence in the schools.