In 2019, the Kentucky General Assembly passed the School Safety and Resiliency Act, commonly known as Senate Bill 1 or SB1 (2019). This Act affected multiple statutes regarding school safety and student resiliency. These statutes impact education and many agencies that work with districts and schools. The new roles of District School Safety Coordinator and State School Security Marshal are established, along with the implementation of various trainings and responsibilities related to these roles. Membership on the Kentucky Center for School Safety (KCSS) Board was re-established, along with requiring KCSS to approve a school security risk assessment tool. School Resource Officers (SROs) are to be assigned to each school, funding permitting. Other requirements regarding school building access, suicide prevention training, active shooter training, trauma-informed approaches to education, school counselors, student-involved trauma, terroristic threatening and an anonymous reporting tool are also outlined in the Act.
District Trauma-Informed Education Plans
Pursuant to KRS 158.4416, each local board of education must develop a plan for implementing a trauma-informed approach in its schools by July 1, 2021. At a minimum, the plan shall include strategies for:
- Enhancing trauma awareness throughout the school community;
- Conducting an assessment of the school climate, including but not limited to inclusiveness and respect for diversity;
- Developing trauma-informed discipline policies;
- Collaborating with the Department of Kentucky State Police, the local sheriff, and the local chief of police to create procedures for notification of trauma-exposed students; and
- Providing services and programs designed to reduce the negative impact of trauma, support critical learning, and foster a positive and safe school environment for every student.
Local boards of education may use their own discretion when determining the format, goals, and procedures for their plans. Similarly, local boards of education may establish their own timelines for implementing and monitoring their plans. KDE’s Trauma-Informed Toolkit provides resources to help identify appropriate strategies to address the required plan elements.
KRS 158.4416 requires KDE to make available a toolkit that includes guidance, strategies, behavioral interventions, practices, and techniques to assist school districts and in developing a trauma-informed approach in schools. The following tools are designed to assist in this process:
School Safety Coordinator
KRS 158.4412 requires the appointment of a School Safety Coordinator (SSC) and designates the requirements of the position. The School Safety Coordinator (SSC) shall:
- complete the SSC training program within six months of appointment,
- designate a school safety and security threat assessment team at each school consisting of two or more staff member to identify and respond to students exhibiting behavior that indicates a potential threat to school safety or security. Members may include school administrators, counselors, SROs, school-based mental health services providers, teachers, and other school personnel,
- provide training to principals within the district on procedures for completion of the school security risk assessment,
- review all school security risk assessments completed within the district and prescribe recommendations as needed in consultation with the state school security marshal,
- advise the superintendent by July 1, 2021, and annually thereafter of completion of required security risk assessments,
- formulate recommended policies/procedures (excluded from Open Records law) for an all-hazards approach including conducting emergency response drills for hostage, active shooter, and building lockdown situations in consultation and coordination with appropriate public safety agencies for review and adoption as part of school emergency plan required by KRS 158.162. The recommended policies shall encourage the involvement of students, as appropriate, in the development of the school's emergency plan, and,
- ensure each school campus is toured at least once per school year, in consultation and coordination with appropriate public safety agencies, to review policies and procedures and provide recommendations related to school safety and security.
Many of these duties had been previously assigned to the "Safe Schools Coordinator." Moving forward, the duties above will be assigned to the School Safety Coordinator though some districts may assign other duties (e.g. model policies, bullying prevention, school climate, and the behavior or Safe Schools data) to the Safe Schools Administrator. These will be two distinct roles in Person Role Manager but districts may choose to assign the same person to both of those roles.
School Safety Risk Assessment
KRS 158.4410(7) states, "No later than July 15, 2021, and each subsequent year, the local district superintendent shall send verification to the state school security marshal and the Kentucky Department of Education that all schools within the district have completed the school security risk assessment for the previous year. School security risk assessments shall be excluded from the application of KRS 61.870 to 61.884 pursuant to KRS 61.878(1)(m)." Districts must submit their annual verification to firstname.lastname@example.org by July 15. Please contact the State School Security Marshal at Ben.Wilcox@ky.gov with any questions.
Terroristic Threatening, 2nd Degree
Effective with the 2019-2020 school year, KRS 158.1559 mandates school principals provide, within ten (10) days of the first instructional day of each school year, written notice of KRS 508.078, 532.060, and 534.030 to all students, parents, and guardians of students. KDE does not interpret language of KRS 158.1559 to require any specific mode of delivery (e.g., first class mail, by hand, etc.) but can confirm that KRS 446.030 requires the ten (10) day timeline be based on calendar days and the deadline be extended to the next business day if the tenth and final day falls on a weekend, legal holiday, or another day that the district is closed.
Active Shooter Training
KRS 156.095(7) was amended by Senate Bill 8 (2020) and now requires all school district employees having direct contact with students to annually complete, by November 1 of each year, one hour of training on how to respond to an active shooter situation. The statute requires this training be provided "in person, by live streaming, or via video recording prepared by the Kentucky Department of Criminal Justice Training [DOCTJ] in collaboration with the Kentucky Law Enforcement Council, the Kentucky Department of Education, and the Center for School Safety and may be included in the four (4) days of professional development under KRS 158.070." The video recording prepared by DOCJT is available here. Additionally, as part of the Trauma-Informed Toolkit, KDE has made available a tool that provides guidance and resources to support trauma-informed active shooter drills.
Handle With Care Notification System
Handle With Care (HWC) is the notification system described in the School Safety & Resiliency Act where schools and districts are required to collaborate with law enforcement to create procedures for notification of a student who has been trauma-exposed as part of the plan for implementing a trauma-informed approach in schools. The Kentucky State Police (KSP) have implemented a notification system that is now active statewide. The information below has been provided to us by KSP regarding implementation of the HWC program.
Handle with Care (HWC) is very simple. Any law enforcement
agency that has access to the KYOPs system can initiate a HWC notification. At
the scene of a crime, accident, or any law enforcement assisted traumatic
event; the officer will identify any child(ren) present. The officer will then
use HWC to notify the school(s) that the child(ren) attend. The notice will be
sent to a confidential email and/or as a text message with only the child’s
name, age, school, and these three words “Handle with Care”.
The premise of Handle with Care is to mitigate the negative
effects of trauma on children when used in in conjunction with trauma-informed
care. In the event the child exhibits problematic behavior
(emotional/behavioral/academic, etc.), the school has an early notification of
possible exposure to trauma and can provide care and understanding, and link
the child with trauma-informed resources such as school counselors or therapists. This video CIBRS shows how the process works and who should be included in the process at the
school and district levels.
Enrolling in Handle with Care:
Contact the Kentucky State Police Post that serves your county;
Ask to speak the Victim Advocate located at the Post;
The Victim Advocate will then assist you in providing contact information for those staff members that will receive the Handle with Care notification.
Please contact your Victim's Advocate local KSP post if you have any questions. Danielle Perkins in the KSP Strategic Planning Branch at (502) 782-1848 or your district's assigned School Marshal Compliance Officer will also be able to assist if you have any questions.
Threat Assessment Resources
Each school is required to have a designated school threat assessment team consisting of two or more staff members, which may include school administrators, school counselors, school resource officers, school-based mental health services providers, teachers, and other school personnel. KDE has compiled some existing threat assessment resources schools may want to consider using, but this list is not exhaustive.