School safety bill clears first legislative hurdle in state Senate

On Thursday, the Senate Education Committee passed priority school safety legislation, Senate Bill 1.

The legislation, sponsored by Senate Education Chair Max Wise, is the result of the work of the legislature’s School Safety Working Group, which has been meeting over the last year. Leaders from both the House and the Senate have expressed the school safety measure is a key priority of both legislative bodies.

According to Wise, the bill’s intent is to establish safer learning environments in schools across Kentucky. Among other things, SB 1 sets a goal of adding more school resource officers and mental health professionals in schools, requires active shooter training for certain school employees, and requires that districts appoint a school safety coordinator.

The bill passed through committee with a committee substitute making small changes including reducing the ration of one mental health professional to every 1,500 students to one to 250, as recommended by national models.

The House also heard their companion school safety bill, House Bill 1, in the House Education Committee for discussion only on Wednesday.

Marshall County state Rep. Chris Freeland, a primary co-sponsor of the House bill, sat down with The Bottom Line on Wednesday to discuss the tragic shooting that happened in his hometown just one year ago and the legislation seeking to ensure such events never happen again. Watch the interview here.

Senate Bill 1 now moves to the full Senate for a vote.

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Jacqueline Pitts
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