FRANKFORT – Legislation that would build on the School Safety and Resiliency Act enacted three years ago by requiring a School Resource Officer on every public school campus by August 1 passed the Kentucky House on Tuesday.
House Bill 63 clarifies the earlier law by stating the SRO must be physically on the assigned campus. It additionally requires school districts to report to the state security marshal if there are troubles with funding or finding enough officers, so a plan can be devised to help them.
“Let me be frank: this is not an unfunded mandate,” said the sponsor, Rep. Kevin Bratcher, R-Louisville. “The legislation is a good step forward and gets us on the right path toward funding safety in our schools. The School Safety and Accountability Act did many great things, including an annual report on school safety every year, but one thing lacking are reasons why schools cannot fund or find personnel. When the legislature gets those statistics, we can begin addressing the problem.”
Bratcher stated local school districts have the autonomy to hire for the resource officer position as long as they are qualified. As schools move forward with plans, they will continue to have full control over deciding which buildings have the SROs and which will get them later.
The measure passed 78-17.
Also winning adoption was House Bill 220, sponsored by Rep. David Hale, R-Wellington, which would make intimidation of a sports official a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine.
“We have seen, over the last few years, and it is getting progressively worse, the aggressive action that is being taken towards referees, umpires, and other officials,” Hale, a former official himself, told his colleagues. “Men and women are dropping out of the ranks of officiating at an all-time high.”