LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Months after discussing plans to increase safety throughout the district, Jefferson County Public Schools have revealed their safety plan.
Officials are expected to formally present the plan during a board meeting on Tuesday.
In the preview of the plan, JCPS will add “a combination of two positions” that will support schools – a safety administrator and a school safety officer.
A safety administrator will be assigned to each middle and school. This person will be responsible for providing positive support to students while also assist with aspects of school safety. The administrators would not be responsible for student discipline, according to the plan on the district’s website.
The school safety officers will serve a three to seven schools in a geographic area for quick response times. For example, an SSO would service Ballard High School, Kammerer Middle and surrounding elementary schools.
SSO’s, the district says, will be ready to patrol assigned schools and respond to anyone that needs help. The officers will be inside vehicles in order to respond to any school in that group needing assistance. They would serve as an armed, sworn law enforcement officer.
In order to meet the standards of the district, those who serve in those roles would have to go through extensive training for 60 hours. Some of the trainings include cross-cultural communication/implicit bias training, safe crisis management and trauma-informed care.
However, the SSO’s would also undergo another 40 hours of training required under Kentucky’s Senate Bill 1.
It won't be the first time they're hearing from people impacted by the proposal. The district met with a focus group comprised of diverse groups across the metro before Monday's proposal.
"I am extremely excited by the idea of having more adults in the school building," The Urban League CEO Sadiqa Reynolds said. Specifically, she highlighted safety administrators and their ability to follow up with students and form one-on-one connections. When it comes to armed safety officers, she said she's glad this proposal limits their time inside JCPS schools.
Republican State Representative Kevin Bratcher was angered by that part of the proposal. While JCPS may have followed the language of new Kentucky laws, he felt they skirted around lawmakers' intent. "The goal of the safety act was to have an SRO available in the school or near the school to take on a serious problem," Bratcher said.
Before the security plan comes up for a vote, JCPS said they will host a public town hall for input which will take place on Jan. 12.