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.
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.
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 1 (2019) 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." The Kentucky Department of Education has compiled the following training options that districts and their employees may use during the 2019-2020 school year to fulfill the active shooter training requirement under KRS 156.095(7):
Note: Videos 1, 3, and 6 contain content that may be sensitive for some participants.
Because all approved trainings are all readily accessible, KDE recommends that staff hired "after the training has been provided for the school year" still complete one of these training options pursuant to KRS 156.095(7)(a). In the event that is not feasible and a district would like to use the alternative method provided for in KRS 156.095(7)(b), slides from the Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools Technical Assistance Center training are available from KDE.
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.
HWC is very simple: law enforcement officers at the scene of a crime or accident identify children who have been exposed to trauma and notify the child's school. There is no information being given except the child's name, age and school. The notice is sent in a confidential email and/or text notification to the child's school before the start of the school day with these three words: "Handle with Care". The premise of HWC is to mitigate the negative effects of trauma on children. In the event the child exhibits problematic behavior, the teacher has an early notification of possible exposure to trauma and may provide care and understanding versus discipline and punishment. When school Interventions are not sufficient, school counselors or therapists can provide necessary services.
Enrolling for notification is easy:
- Simply contact the Kentucky State Police post that covers your county;
- Ask to speak to the Victims Advocate located at the post;
- Provide the email address(es) and telephone numbers for notifications of the staff within your school that you would like to receive the Handle with Care notifications. We suggest several contacts per school In the event one or more contacts is absent.
Please contact your Victim's Advocate local KSP post if you have any questions. Angela Parker 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.