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'I Want To Hear Their Voices': Lexington Senator To Hold School Safety Town Hall

AP Photo/Robert Ray
People attend a vigil for the victims of a fatal shooting at Marshall County High School on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018, at Mike Miller County Park in Benton, Ky.

Lexington parents and school safety advocates will have a chance to air their thoughts, suggestions, and concerns at a town hall meeting tonight, hosted by Democratic Senator Reggie Thomas. 

The meeting is billed as a discussion of Senate Bill 1, dubbed the School Safety and Resiliency Act.

"I want to know what they think," Thomas says. "I want to hear their voices... their concerns, ideas because I want this bill to reflect the input of the Kentucky citizenry." 

Lawmakers began gathering input from across Kentucky following the deadly school shooting in Marshall County in 2018. The 30-page measure, crafted by a General Assembly working group that traveled the state, is still being fleshed out ahead of the legislature's February return. But the current language zeroes in on four areas: reexamining the role of resource officers, boosting access to mental health professionals, standardizing safety measures, and working to foster a sense of connection between students and school staff.

Thomas says he’s already hearing from constituents about the bill.

"What I'm hearing are two things: that we need more school professionals in the school, not just mental health counselors but health care professionals as well... and that we really need to tighten up the school facilities, that the bill doesn't go far enough in addressing entry into the schools," he reports. 

SB1 would install new school security marshals, who would report to the head of the Department of Criminal Justice Training. The bill’s authors say it will not address guns, leaving that more contentious issue to be taken up in separate bills.

Thomas’ school safety town hall runs from 6 to 8 tonight at Lafayette High School.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.
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