Statement by Dr. Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates
With today’s sound of the gavel in the Kentucky House on Senate Bill 1, legislators across the aisle and chambers confirmed their commitment to increasing students’ safety in the commonwealth. With the leadership of Senator Max Wise and Representative John Carney, SB 1 takes a multi-faceted approach to ensure every Kentucky student is safe and supported in their school building, including addressing student behavioral health needs.
The School Safety Working Group and the Kentucky Senate and House approached the complex and urgent issue of school safety comprehensively and considered several key commitments. SB 1 addresses the appropriate role and training of law enforcement officers in schools and needed school building safety improvements. It also underscores the imperative roles that school connectedness and trauma-responsive school climates play within the equation of school safety. And it emphasizes ensuring access to quality behavioral and other health professionals along with preventive services through innovative funding streams to address issues like depression and anxiety before students’ challenges get more serious. We applaud the balance between physical safety, a supportive learning environment, and preventive behavioral health services included in this profound first step to addressing school safety in the commonwealth.
We thank Senator Wise and Representative Carney for their leadership on this legislation, members of the School Safety Working Group for their thoughtful approach, and members of the Kentucky House for supporting SB 1. We look forward to the Governor signing this bill into law to ensure every student in the commonwealth has the opportunity to learn and grow in safe and supportive school environment that prioritizes their behavioral health needs. This is a common ground, common sense, and common good piece of legislation for kids that we can all be proud of.
Stay up-to-date on Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children priorities and other bills that are good for kids on our Kentucky General Assembly Bill Tracker.
About Kentucky Youth Advocates
Kentucky Youth Advocates believes all children deserve to be safe, healthy, and secure. As THE independent voice for Kentucky’s children, we work to ensure policymakers create investments and policies that are good for children. Learn more at www.kyyouth.org.