Education

Armed school resource officers are a step closer to becoming a presence in Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS). The school board’s policy committee weighed in for the final time on the plan for a new school police force Tuesday night. The draft plan calls for school resource officers (called “school safety officers”) to carry firearms.

District officials said they updated the draft policy and procedures to comply with Senate Bill 8, which would require all school resource officers in Kentucky to be armed. The bill has been passed by the state House and Senate and is currently on the governor’s desk.

“Our expectation is either through him signing it, or him not signing, or through his veto that gets overridden, that SB8 will be the law of the land once those things happen,” JCPS policy director Jonathan Lowe told the committee.

Lowe said they also revised the number of magazines officers would carry, lowering the number from three to two in response to discussion at a prior committee meeting.

Sonja DeVries was among a small group protesting armed school officers at the meeting.

“Quite frankly when I’ve sat through these meetings and heard them talk about three clips or two clips, that’s not what we should be talking about when we’re talking about making our schools safer,” DeVries said.

DeVries, like other activists in Jefferson County, worries that children of color will be more at risk of racially biased policing if armed officers are in the schools.

The draft policy will go to the board for consideration at its March meeting, when it is likely to face push-back from some members who oppose armed police in schools.

The earliest the board would take a final vote on the measure would be April.

This story has been update to correct the spelling of Sonja DeVries’ name.

Jess Clark is WFPL's Education and Learning Reporter.