Kentucky students release report recommending improvements for safer schools

Kentucky students release report recommending improvements for safer schools
Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 4:05 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The latest JCPS gun incident coincides with the release of a student report focused on how Kentucky should improve school safety.

The students began their work following the massacre in Uvalde, Texas. The seven page report focused on improving the efforts before, during, and after a school shooting. It was created by 29 students across Kentucky, including five from JCPS.

“After I see them on the news I start to reflect and I talk to my friends and my teachers bring it up and we discuss what effect this has on us,” said Raima Dutt, a Student Advisory Council member.

“A lot of this violence is so prominent and so common that you almost become desensitized to it,” said Spandana Pavuluri, another member of the Student Advisory Council.

The two duPont Manual High School students have worked with 27 others across the state since May to help increase school safety in Kentucky. Their suggestions include ensuring students are aware of the state’s safety tipline and any information a students gives won’t be held against them. They also suggest that active shooter drills be made less routine so students will take them more seriously.

“I think it’s just because it happens so often, where it’s kind of like a routine at this point,” said Dutt.

And make active shooter drills more comprehensive, perhaps by including first responders, or discussing specific actions that should be taken.

“I think it would be worth it to even begin discussing if someone comes into this room, what do we do,” said Pavuluri.

The students said the state should provide money to schools to make repairs or rebuild following a shooting. They also want to see lawmakers propose gun safety legislation such as requiring purchasers to pass mental health screening. Representative James Tipton (R-Taylorsville/District 53), the House Education Committee chair, said lawmakers need to approve more money, but cautioned it likely won’t happen this year.

“Its going to require some additional funding, now I will point out that 2023 this is our short session we typically do not take up the budget in the short session,” said Tipton.

Students will likely testify to lawmakers directly about their findings during the session in Frankfort.

“With this work on school safety I hope we’re being taken legitimately by legislators, by people in power, by decision makers and so that we don’t just have a seat at the table, we’re actually being listened to,” said Pavuluri.