The Democrat governor of Kentucky has just signed a bill requiring all schools in the state to have at least one armed resource officer on campus, however, not everyone on his side of the political aisle agrees with the move, according to The Hill.
The measure was signed into law by Gov. Andy Beshear on Friday, and the requirement took effect immediately. Beshear addressed the legislation with reporters at a press conference later that day.
“Stop the worst of the worst”
“I simply cannot ask a school resource officer to stop an armed gunman entering a school without them having the ability to not only achieve this mission, but also to protect themselves,” Beshear was quoted by The Courier Journal as telling assembled journalists. He added, “We must be able to stop the worst of the worst.”
Under previous rules, Kentucky schools were required to have a trained resource officer available, but there was no requirement that he or she be armed.
State Senate Education Chairman Max Wise (R) sponsored the legislation, and he claimed that public support for it was strong.
“We see an overwhelming majority of constituents want protection in their school districts,” Wise told the Lexington Herald Leader.
“About 83% of Jefferson County employees in middle schools and high schools wanted armed school resource officers,” the Republican said of Kentucky’s largest county.
“This new legislation, which goes into effect immediately, is crucial to the General Assembly’s continued efforts to protect Kentucky’s children, teachers and staff by improving the safety of our schools,” Wise declared.
“I am appreciative of all those who provided the necessary input and support to see this measure come to fruition,” he added.
However, some members of the legislature’s Black Caucus as well as activists from the Black Lives Matter group voiced significant opposition to the measure, citing the ambivalence with which many African Americans view law enforcement officers.
Rep. Charles Booker (D) was among them. According to the Lexington Herald Leader, he expressed his belief that a sizable number of African American students would feel threatened by the presence of armed officers in school buildings.
“I’m asking that you consider children that come from a different walk,” Booker stated.