KY Senate Bill 2 — ‘guardians’ to protect our kids from school shooters — is a dangerous bill. Here’s why. Skip to content

KY Senate Bill 2 — ‘guardians’ to protect our kids from school shooters — is a dangerous bill. Here’s why.

How do you feel about having retired military and law enforcement patrolling your child’s school with a gun on their hip?

In 2023, I attended School Safety Task Force meetings chaired by Senator Max Wise. According to my calendar, the final SSTF meeting was held the afternoon of Nov. 1, 2023, and what I remember most are these two things.

Sen. Wise made a point to thank everyone on the committee and in the audience for being there on a regular basis. This was unusual and nice for a committee chair, and I appreciated it.

Second, I was sitting in front of Rep. Savannah Maddox (a committee member in the front row) who appeared to be paying no attention to those testifying. This seemed so rude and bugged me so much throughout the hour-long meeting, I took a photo.

The entire meeting — like the task force itself — felt like nothing more than going through the motions, another hour to get through, a time card to stamp.

The deliverable on those task force meetings appears to be Sen. Wise filing Senate Bill 2 to allow for “guardians” in the hundreds of Kentucky schools who cannot find qualified law enforcement officers (LEOs) to be school resource officers (SROs), cannot afford an SRO, or both.

This bill sets off number of basic, common sense alarm bells.

  1. Sen. Wise has not made a budget request for SB 2, in a budget year, so there will be no funding. What does this say about the priority?
  2. LEOs are no different than other professions — doctors, nurses, writers, teachers, techies, etc. — with specific skillsets. Imagine a warm and fuzzy LEO retiree, beloved by students and staff, but who has never had tactical training or taken on a determined shooter in body armor who is carrying a weapon that fires many rounds in seconds.
  3. Will there be some who sign up for this non-paying “guardian” role in good faith? Sure. But consider the kind of person who takes a job where he/she is expected to risk their life protecting others for no pay. Rejected by law enforcement? Tough guy who just wants to carry a gun and wear a badge?
  4. The wildly unrealistic expectation that an unpaid volunteer is responsible for protecting hundreds of kids and staff from a surprise attack by someone on a suicidal shooting rampage?

This list goes on.

I suggest Sen. Wise and his colleagues get a dose of reality.

I also suggest they read, in its entirety, the latest cover story in The Atlantic magazine titled “To Stop a Shooter,” a devastating account of the Parkland school shooting and what can go wrong even when the SRO is a sheriff’s deputy, much less an unpaid volunteer.

“Scot Peterson, a Broward County sheriff’s deputy, was in his office at the school, waiting to talk with a parent about a student’s fake ID. At 2:21 p.m., a report came over the school radio about a strange sound — firecrackers, possibly — coming from Building 12. Peterson stepped outside, moving briskly, talking into the radio on his shoulder. Then the fire alarm rang. Peterson, wearing a sheriff’s uniform with a Glock on his belt, started running.”

“He made no attempt to enter the building where children were being murdered. Inside, 17 people were dead or dying, six of them killed after Peterson took cover. A lieutenant from a nearby police department later told state investigators that he saw Peterson pacing back and forth, breathing heavily. The lieutenant asked what was going on. “I don’t know. I don’t know,” Peterson responded. “Oh my God, I can’t believe this.” For 48 minutes, even as other law-enforcement officers arrived and went inside Building 12 to try to confront the gunman, Peterson continued to take cover next to the wall.”

SB 2 is a dangerous bill in that it gives the appearance of solving a problem it does not solve.

SB 2 is nothing more than Sen. Wise’s final stamp on his task force time card and no more creative or thoughtful than saying to legislative leadership and the public, “Look, Ma! No hands!”

SB 2 is empty, political, performance art. The only thing at risk is the safety of our kids.

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Teri Carter

Teri Carter writes about rural Kentucky politics for the Lexington Herald-Leader, the Washington Post, and The Daily Yonder. She lives in Anderson County.

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