Marshall County representative says school safety must be state’s top priority in aftermath of school shooting

On their second day back in Frankfort, the House Education Committee met Wednesday afternoon to hear discussion on House Bill 1, school safety legislation.

The Senate met last week to learn about Senate Bill 1, the Senate’s companion school safety bill.

IMG_9990The legislation was presented by House Majority Leader Bam Carney. The components of House Bill 1 and Senate Bill 1 are the result of the work of the legislature’s School Safety Working Group, which meet over the last year. Carney co-chaired this group along with Senate Education Chair Max Wise.

The bills sets to establish safer learning environments in Kentucky’s schools by adding more school resource officers and mental health professionals in schools, requiring active shooter training for certain school employees, and requiring that districts appoint a school safety coordinator.

Newly-elected state Representative Chris Freeland joined Carney to present the bill and to stress the importance of taking action on this important issue. Freeland represents Marshall County where a shooter opened fire at the local high school in January of 2018. The incident prompted the legislature to create the School Safety Working Group.

In a sit-down interview with The Bottom Line on Wednesday, Rep. Freeland said he is extremely proud of his community for the way they have reacted in the aftermath of the shooting. The newly-elected representative said it was a surreal day to be on the campus of his former high school right after the shooting took place and added the way the community came together and these pieces of legislation are a chance to honor what happened and make sure something like that shooting ever happens again.

“It has to be a priority, you can’t put safety on the backburner, it has to be priority number one. And I am proud that the state is making it that way,” Freeland said.

No vote was taken on House Bill 1 during Wednesday’s committee hearing. The Senate is expected to move on the bill when the legislature reconvenes for part two of this year’s session next week. The House has also prioritized school safety by making House Bill 1 a companion bill to Senate Bill 1.

Watch the full interview with Rep. Freeland in the video below:

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Jacqueline Pitts
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