‘The situation keeps getting worse:’ JCPS Board member speaks on guns in schools
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Forty-eight hours after the Jefferson County Board of Education voted to approve a motion asking JCPS Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio for a proposal to put metal detectors in school buildings, WAVE News sat down with the board member who initiated the vote.
Corrie Shull said he made the motion asking Pollio to research metal detectors because he believes many students do not feel safe on their commutes to and from school, and believes that is the reason why many of them are bringing guns on campus.
“The situation keeps getting worse,” Shull said. “We keep discovering guns in school buildings. We keep traumatizing students, sending letters to parents informing them that a gun has been found. All of that is creating an environment that makes it difficult to accomplish the goals of public education.”
Shull said since his proposal, feedback from the people living in his district has been positive.
He said that encouragement has given him confidence to know he did the right thing.
“I have not received one email in opposition to this measure,” Shull said. “I think that speaks to our communal understanding of the crisis that we are in.”
During the meeting, Shull said both Louisville’s Metro government and Kentucky’s state government had failed to keep guns off Louisville’s streets, thus forcing JCPS to take responsibility.
Later in the meeting, Metro Councilman Anthony Piagentini made a public comment, rebutting Shull’s comment and advocating for better coordination between Metro Council and the Board of Education.
Then, after the meeting was adjourned, Shull and Piagentini were involved in a spirited face-to-face discussion.
Thursday evening, WAVE News asked Shull how Metro Council and the Board of Education can work together.
“Let’s just be clear,” Shull said. “it is not the Jefferson County Board of Education’s job to keep guns off of the street. It is JCPS’ responsibility to provide education to every child in this city. That’s our job. It is Metro government’s responsibility to keep streets safe and to ensure that there is public safety. It is my perspective that the city government has abdicated their responsibilities to ensure that streets are safe and that they pass policy at the city level that rids our streets of guns and that reduces gun violence. My qualm with councilman Piagentini, and others of his perspective, is they lay all of the issues of the city at the feet of the public education system. All of the issues of this community are not JCPS’s responsibility, and I think that those individuals who have been elected to serve on the city council should live up to their elected responsibility to ensure and to insist on public safety. And as of now, they are not doing so, and the responsibility to keep students safe is falling to the Board of Education.”
Part 1 of full interview (Story continues below):
Shull believes metal detectors can act as deterrents for students who have considered bringing guns, or have brought guns to school.
Still, as part of his motion, he asked Pollio to study best practices to ensure the plan’s implementation will not criminalize students.
“Young people in Louisville don’t safe in many of the communities that comprise this city,” Shull said. “They feel the need to carry weapons because they don’t feel safe in their communities. I don’t think that’s their fault. I don’t think that that is a scenario of a child trying to do harm to their peers. It is a child feeling the need to protect themselves. I don’t believe that a child who feels that they need to protect themselves while navigating their community, and maybe they leave a weapon in their backpack or what have you, that they should automatically be introduced to the criminal justice system. I think that we need to implement restorative practices in our schools, as it relates to this issues, that maybe we need to find ways to understand why this student, who may have been found with a weapon, felt the need to carry that weapon. But I think it’s wrong-headed to have an approach that student A is found with a weapon, and as a consequence of that, we’re going to immediately send that child to a juvenile detention [facility].”
Part 2 of full interview (Story continues below):
Pollio is required to bring the Board a proposal by the regularly-scheduled meeting on April 25.
Pollio told the board he has some concerns about the plan’s implementation. For more information, click here.
Copyright 2023 WAVE. All rights reserved.