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'Deescalate in a timely manner': New safety staff stepping into action when guns found in JCPS schools

Central High School safety administrator Mikel Brown recalled his response from when he learned a student in the building had a gun in his possession last month.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Jefferson County Public Schools' (JCPS) new safety team is taking a lead role when guns are found inside school walls.

It's all part of the plan the school district implemented this year to better connect with students, providing them familiar faces while keeping them safe.

At Central High School, one alum has already stepped up to the challenge in his new role.

25-year-old Mikel Brown, a 2015 graduate, is working his first semester as a trained school safety administrator (SSA).

"When you have relationships, you're able to deescalate things in a timely manner and be able to be real about those situations," he said.

Brown recalled his response from when he learned a student in the building had a gun in his possession in early October.

One of the first to find out, he heightened security within the building and helped get the message out to armed JCPS and Louisville Metro Police (LMPD) officers on the outside.

Brown told WHAS11 he had a conversation with the student after the incident, in the face of discipline. He said knowing the student allowed him to better deescalate the situation and get to the root issue.

"We have to be willing to ask students if they're OK and support them 100 percent, because we're finding out there are a lot of issues going on when they leave the doors of Central High School, or any school -- and they have to feel safe and secure," he said.

In talking with kids, Brown says he's learned the majority who bring weapons to school are fearing their own safety outside facility walls -- to and from home. He also tells us easy access to guns on the street are making these problems worse.

"We can only do what we can do from 7:40 a.m. to 2:20 p.m., but what goes on outside of that, we need the community's support," he said.

In the meantime, Brown and more than 60 other safety administrators across JCPS are trying to be proactive in building rapport and trust with students, before safety concerns arise.

Meanwhile, a JCPS spokesperson tells us they have 15 sworn School Safety Officers (SSOs) patrolling outside schools. The district says they also have another nine security monitors working toward certification.

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