Bill to bring armed guards into schools moves ahead

Posted at 4:33 PM, Jan 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-24 05:37:29-05

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — On the two year anniversary of the shooting at Marshall County High School, a bitter twist of irony occurred in Frankfort where legislators met to discuss Senate Bill 8 (SB 8).

“The pros outweigh the cons,” said State Senator Max Wise (R-16th District) of the bill he’s sponsoring.

Wise claims more than 80% of those polled support this bill, which would not only place armed security officers inside Kentucky’s schools, but would add mental health counselors for those students who are in need of such services.

“I love the mental health approach,” Wise said. “What if that particular young man could’ve had more mental health counseling?”

The young man Wise was referring to is Gabriel Ross Parker, who was accused of opening fire inside Marshall County High School and killing two students, while injuring 18 others. His trial is expected to begin in June.

No one could ever accurately predict what might have been had SB 8 been in place two years ago. However, if passed, SB 8 would be landmark legislation which would change the way we view security inside public schools.

“We’re not arming teachers, we’re not going down that path,” Wise said. “But if we’re putting in sworn law enforcement officers, they will have a gun. And I think the expectation of parents is that the officer will be equipped with a gun,” Wise continued.

SB 8 passed unanimously during Thursday’s session and will now head to the House and Senate floor for a full vote. Wise said he isn’t sure how the bill would be paid for, but does feel confident it’ll pass, and then the work will begin on how to get it funded.

“You can guarantee that both of these chambers will step up to the plate when it comes to school safety,” Wise said, while conceding he isn’t yet sure how much it’ll cost to operate these programs.

Considering this legislative session began with a moment of silence in honor those who were killed in that Marshall County shooting, maybe Wise is less concerned about cost and more focused on passing legislation that he feels will make Kentucky’s schools safer for everyone.