FRANKFORT, Ky. — For three years, high school student Alex Young has been advocating for a ban on corporal punishment in schools. Today, he got the chance to testify on House Bill 22 which would remove corporal punishment from Kentucky schools.
“The safety of students must always come first in Kentucky schools and intentionally harming students contradicts the very definition of safety,” Young said.
Kentucky is currently one of 19 states which allow schools to paddle students to correct behavior.
The House Education Committee passed the bill in a unanimous vote.
They also heard Senate Bill 8 which is a follow to the school safety bill. It would require arming schools resource officers (SROs).
Some Louisville Democrats questioned supporters’ claims that most JCPS teachers favor this and suggested there's a racial divide in support.
Rep. Mary Lou Marzian questioned whether arming resource officers would put kids in danger.
“I'm really worried about a child in the school reaching for a pencil and an SRO shooting them by mistake, and I think it's only a matter of time before that happens,” Rep. Marzian said.
The bill’s sponsor, Senator Max Wise, feels SROs need every tool possible to keep kids safe.
“If the worst-case scenario were to happen, would you not want that police officer to have a firearm if something tragic were to happen? Can you imagine the liability if they did not? Can you imagine telling a parent that law enforcement officer was not able to respond as he would to run into a building to not be able to have a weapon to handle the situation?” Sen. Wise asked.
Senate Bill 8 passed in a split vote.
Both issues are now poised for a vote on the House Floor, although it's unclear when that will happen.