New proposal would require armed officers in all JCPS schools, regardless of funding

Aiden Bonilla

Changes in a state legislature bill have axed the need for adequate resources in putting student resource officers (SRO’s) in Louisville learning. While SROs are technically already required by law, loopholes have allowed JCPS not to employ any since the inception of the act in 2019. 

SROs are trained law enforcement officers who specialize in policing schools, usually carrying a designated firearm as the sole protection for the establishment. They receive a minimum of 40 hours of school training before being deployed into a selected school. Some of the courses they must take include threat assessment and response, social media and cyber security, youth mental health awareness, diversity and bias awareness, de-escalation strategies, and understanding students with special needs. Officers who fail to complete training to a quality standard are forced to retake said training until they complete it in a competent manner.

 The National Association of Student Resource Officers (NASRO) claim that there are currently 14,000 to 20,000 such officers around the nation. They also estimate that roughly 15 to 20 percent of public and private schools in the U.S employ an SRO. Despite this, the latest state school security marshal report stated that 57 percent of schools in Kentucky have no SRO presence.

The new modification was pre-filled by three Republican state representatives from the Louisville area, with Representatives Jason Nemes, Ken Fleming and Kevin Bratcher all collaborating on the process. Their updated version of the bill made a singular change, as they decided to eliminate the section of the act that stated that one SRO had to serve at every school “as funds and qualified personnel become available.” If this variation becomes law, then it will set a hard deadline of Aug. 1, 2022 for all JCPS schools to employ SROs.

Some people have become more entertained with the idea of daily school policing over the past few weeks, especially after an incident at Pleasure Ridge Park High School (PRP), where a massive brawl ended with a student being charged with bringing a pellet gun onto school premises. 

“We should have an armed resource officer in school because we need a stricter environment. Nowadays, if people see an officer with a gun then they’ll get put in check real quick. Plus, it keeps the safety of others higher because now we have someone to protect us if there is a school shooting or something,” PRP senior, Brennan Keen said.

“SROs are needed because they help prevent and de-escalate so many things before they get too serious. It also makes the students and teachers feel safer, and gives the students a better relationship and better feelings towards police officers as a whole,” said PRP junior, Austyn Raymer (11).