House and Senate education committees explore ways to make schools safer

03/01/2018 04:52 PM

FRANKFORT – Adults, students and community connectedness are the keys to keeping a safe school environment, according to a national expert on the subject.

William Modzeleski, a school safety consultant, appeared for a joint meeting of the House and Senate Standing Committees on Education on Thursday.

Modzeleski told members there are a number of ideas which include things like metal detectors and security cameras, but says the number one key to keeping a safe environment is a coming together of adults and students.

“If we are going to have safe environments for learning, we need to improve the connectedness between youth and adults,” Modzeleski said. “We need to build those relationships. Relationships of trust, relationships of understanding, relationships of hey, we’ve got you.”

In the February 14, school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, a fire alarm was pulled right before the shooting began.

Rep. John “Bam” Carney, R-Campbellsville, asked Kentucky Center For School Safety Executive Director Jon Akers about the possibility of Kentucky schools adopting a safe procedure concerning fire alarms in the future — to avoid what happened in Florida.

Another concern addressed by Akers is the general lack of respect for life that some young people have in this era of violent video games.

“With the violence that we see 24/7, on TV, in the movie houses, video games, things like this, kids are being desensitized, bang, bang, bang, okay I hit reset and we start all over again and I’m ready to go now,” Akers said. “It doesn’t happen in real life.”

Sen. Gerald Neal, D-Louisville, questioned Modzeleski about the idea of arming faculty and staff at schools with firearms.

An idea the school safety consultant disagreed with.

Marshall County Schools Superintendent Trent Lovett was in attendance and said that even after hearing what was expressed at the meeting, he still doesn’t believe that there was anything that his district could have done differently to avoid the tragedy in which 2 students were killed at Marshall County High on January 23.

“I don’t think there’s anything that I heard today would have made a difference,” Lovett said.

Lovett said the community is recovering slowly, but admits it’s going to take a long time.

“We’ll take 2 steps forward and then sometimes something will come a long like the incident in Florida and we take a back step,” Lovett said. “The one month anniversary was a day we took a step back a little bit, but they are healing. The community has been very supportive.”

Don Weber

Don Weber is a Video Journalist for Spectrum News and covers politics and education on Pure Politics, Kentucky’s only nightly program dedicated to state politics. Don is a lifelong Kentuckian and a graduate of Northern Kentucky University. He spent many years covering sports in the Northern Kentucky area before shifting primarily to politics. You can watch Don’s work weeknights at 7:00 and 11:30 on Pure Politics, available exclusively on Spectrum News, HD Channels 403 and 715. If you have a story idea you can reach Don at



  • Cat Balz wrote on March 01, 2018 06:39 PM :

    Moms Demand Action. OK then let their husbands and boyfriends and whoever rows their boats get busy and leave my guns alone.

  • Ed Jessup wrote on March 01, 2018 08:50 PM :

    Nobody’s talking about your tiny gun Cat. I think they’re interested in keeping teenagers from totin’ AR-15s.

    If you’re over 21 and not carrying one around, you’re probably ok . . . unless you’re mentally ill, which may or may not be the case – hard to tell from here.

  • Heza Putz wrote on March 02, 2018 04:00 PM :

    Michael Bloomberg is worth 50 billion dollars and all I got was this lousy tee shirt.

  • Heza Putz wrote on March 03, 2018 10:54 AM :

    Will Every Town USA and Moms Demand Action count a 19 year old with a handgun killing his parents when they went to pick him up at Central Michigan U as a school shooting? Why, yes, yes they will.

  • MikeTrip wrote on March 04, 2018 03:21 PM :

    GUN FREE ZONE” Is a death sentence for students. How hard is it to figure out that you are just creating helpless victims? What is the first thing you do when a shooter shows up? Call the police. Why? Because they have guns. Average response time 22 minutes. If the guns were already there the children would be a lot safer.

  • Ed Jessup wrote on March 04, 2018 08:10 PM :

    Schools, movie theaters, music festivals, malls, office buildings, etc. will always be soft targets, no matter how many guns you put in the hands of teachers, “safety officers”, or security guards.

    Arming and training more people is a useless exercise and a waste of money as long as military grade weapons are available to any pinhead who wants one. With minimal effort, a killer pinhead with an AR-15 will always have the element of surprise in a public place, whether it’s a school, a church, or a military base.

    Anybody who’s talking about arming more people is purposely avoiding talking about the real problem: easy access to killing machines by any cracker with a credit card.

  • Heza Putz wrote on March 05, 2018 11:15 AM :

    A lot of pinheads and crackers pay cash for their AR-15, Ed.

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