FRANKFORT, Ky. (WAVE) - Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced Friday that he’ll sign Senate Bill 8 into law, meaning schools across the state will be required to arm their resource officers.
Beshear opened his remarks at the State Capitol in Frankfort by citing the 1997 tragedy at Heath High School in Paducah, and then the 2018 shooting at Marshall County High School.
“Our children do not deserve this,” Beshear said. “They deserve to feel safe, and be safe in their schools.”
The bill had enjoyed overwhelming support across the state. But there was opposition, especially in Jefferson County. And civil rights groups like Black Lives Matter also voiced concern that it could negatively affect students of color.
One JCPS parent, Anice Chenault, told Wave 3 News she and her husband don’t believe arming school resource officers will make students safer.
“I was so disappointed and sad when I learned the governor was going to sign the bill,” Chenault said. “We feel we definitely need supports for kids that have challenges in the school system, but that being armed is actually not making the kids safer. It’s not making the schools safer and, in fact, black and brown kids are going to be less safe.”
Justice Secretary J Michael Brown has been working with groups on those concerns. He said the Law Enforcement Council is fluid, and it can add and subtract things. He said the most important factor is not just the training of the officers, but the selection of the officers.
In his remarks Friday, Beshear reminded Kentuckians that the measure had passed a Senate vote 34-1, and a House vote 78-8.
“We must be able to stop the worst of the worst,” he said.