SROs continue to be hotly contested within JCPS



A police car, similar to the ones used by officers in JCPS. Photo by NEONBRAND on Unspalsh.

Aiden Bonilla

Recent developments have once again led to a heated discussion over the placement of armed student resource officers (SROs) within JCPS schools. As discussed in the previous article, the School Safety and Resiliency Act states that SROs are to be assigned to each JCPS school, provided there is adequate funding. 

A bill prefilled recently by local Republican state representatives would eliminate this economic loophole, meaning that JCPS would have to allocate part of their budget to the officers, rather than ignoring the issue. JCPS has instead been trying to let Governor Andy Beshear implement his own student task force, which has been halted by red tape and Covid-19. 

Earlier this month, the JCPS Board of Education abruptly ended their meeting due to multiple outbursts from the large crowd gathered around Central High School’s auditorium. These outbursts were caused by the clashing of two opposing groups, one supporting the implementation of SROs, and another group who vehemently disapprove of the idea. SROs were not among the issues set to be discussed at the meeting, but a recent development had inflamed tensions between the two sides of the debate.

Tyree Smith was a junior attending Eastern High School. Smith died in a bus stop shooting on the morning of Sept. 22nd, marking the 21th kid killed already this year in the Louisville area. A 14-year-old and a 13-year-old were also injured in the shooting, but both survived with minor wounds.

These events led to increased questioning over whether or not JCPS is doing enough to protect their students in and out of school, with some believing that more security and guns will lead to less harm, while others think that the added firearms and police presence will just lead to more suggestions of violence, as well as poor relations between police and the troubled youths of JCPS.

“Armed officers ignore student’s trauma, and make the school environment more vulnerable to stress. School legislators should focus on student’s mental health, instead of putting in reactive over proactive forces,” said Josiah Finley, one of the anti-SRO protesters at the meeting, as well as the vice president of Atherton High School’s Black Student Union (BSU).