LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Many parents were stunned by the Jefferson County Board of Education’s split vote that led to contracts with school resource officers not being approved.
Parents told WAVE 3 News on Wednesday that they are disappointed in the board, and complained just like the school crossing guard controversy, student safety should not be cut first.
“Actually, my whole family is in the public schools every day,” said parent and Louisville attorney Bob Bornstein. With a wife as a teacher, and sons in middle and high school, the JCPS parent is upset about Tuesday night’s school board 3-3 vote that took school resource officers out of schools.
“It’s unfathomable to me that in the same week where we have mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, that we’re going to throw our arms up here and just pretend that we’re in some sort of a bubble,” Bornstein said.
But other parents told the board Tuesday night that SROs could bring racial profiling.
“Children who probably needed counseling, getting taken away in handcuffs,” one parent said as she shared her fears with the board.
He said students who aren’t doing anything wrong build trust with SROs and increase safety.
“If my son was ever aware of guns coming into the school, drugs coming into the school, he had a person that he could go to and share that with,” Bornstein said.
Some parents took exception to a statement made by Vice Board Chair Chris Kolb.
“I’m sorry,” Kolb said during Tuesday’s meeting, “if someone comes to a school with an AR-15 there’s nothing an SRO is going to do.”
Surprised parents said maybe Kolb forgot that a Valley High school resource officer was just recognized for helping stop an armed student in April suspected of planning a school shooting. Parent Shannon Fauver said she believes the vote is about money, and said of the board’s decision, “I think that was very short-sighted.”
Fauver, who’s on Atherton’s site-based, decision-making council, said she’ll suggest using money set aside for an SRO next week. She said the old topic of metal detectors used in other districts successfully needs to be discussed again.
“I want to make sure my kids are safe when they go to school,” she said. “You go through a metal detector to go to a concert, to get on a plane ... so to me, there’s no difference. You’re just trying to make sure they’re safe.”
Fauver brought up that issue a while back, and districts like Cincinnati using it successfully, but it was a time when the state was threatening to take over JCPS, so parents let it shake out for the time being. Kolb, James Craig and Corrie Shull are the board members who voted against the contracts.