Arming school employees back in the spotlight in Boone Co.

BOONE COUNTY, KY (FOX19) - The topic of arming school employees is back in the spotlight in Boone County.

On Thursday, the school board met as part of a planned safety workshop to review their current safety and emergency plans. The workshop is designed to talk about some new ideas when it comes to safety in the district.

The house was packed at the Ralph Rush Staff Development Center as residents heard about a safety plan laid out for the next school year. But, dominating most of the meeting was a back-and-forth about the idea of arming school employees under the P.O.S.T. Program.

The program is a plan for school employees to carry a concealed weapon on a volunteer basis after undergoing some extensive training.

"The educational system is against this. I think they're going to have to warm up to something like this just like they did with the school resource officer program, and the Armed Pilots Program.  I think it's just going to take time.  Unfortunately, it may take a shooting," said Joe Kalil, Boone County Constable and P.O.S.T. Program director.

"I just feel like they should be there to teach and lead. We should leave it to the officers," said Eddie Squires, president of the Kentucky state PTA.

But, for one local man, having an armed school employee has a different meaning.

In May of 1994, John Hoh went to Ryle High School like any other day. But, what happened in one of his classes was far from ordinary.

A fellow student came into class and pulled out a gun, having just killed four family members.

"He came into the room, had his girlfriend in tow with him. At that time, he told the teacher to close the door, please lock it, that there's a kid in school with a gun," said Hoh.

That kid was Clay Shrout.

"He said, 'You know, I've just had a really bad day.'  He repeated that once or twice.  'I've had a bad day. I just killed my parents,'" Hoh told FOX19.

Shrout took a seat at the teacher's desk with the gun in hand. He fired no shots, and was eventually talked down by then-vice principal, Steve Sorrell.  But those moments are still terrifying.

"He sat at the teacher's desk and kept to himself, played around with the gun, played around with his backpack, and we all pretty much sat there and tried to stay calm," said Hoh.

Hoh doesn't believe Shrout came to school to continue his violent rampage.

"Hindsight's 20/20. If you look at it right now, no, the gun wouldn't have made a difference in that classroom at that time, that instance. However, everything could have gone south," Hoh said.

He, like many others, is thankful it didn't. But, too many time it does. That's why Hoh is in favor of arming school employees.

"If however, it was there, there were guns in the school anonymously, and something happened. If he decided not to go in that classroom that day, he decided to start shooting in the lobby, which that was one of his ideas.  He was going to find his teacher and shoot her.  A gun in the school, in the right hands at the right time could have made all the difference," Hoh told FOX19.

Kalil says there are schools contemplating the plan. Without going into specifics, he says two private schools and one public school have shown interest.

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