Kentucky students speak out against guns in schools, Senate Bill 8 | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

Kentucky students speak out against guns in schools, Senate Bill 8

Kentuckians need our legislators to put education first. Instead, they prioritized their political wants above what our students really need with Senate Bill 8 (SB 8), which forces a firearm into every public school in the state.

Teachers across the commonwealth are paying for classroom supplies out of their own pockets or fundraising for the resources our students need to learn. Our kids and their teachers deserve funding for projects that nurture and educate, not for guns in schools.

The authors and supporters of SB 8, which is currently sitting on Governor Beshear’s desk, claim they want to protect our students. But the use of armed enforcement is not backed by evidence, and in fact makes many students feel less safe. SB 8 promises to evoke trauma and discrimination for students of color, those with disabilities or mental health issues, and others.

Here’s what some JCPS students had to say about school resource officers (SROs) and SB 8:

“Police officers at my school make me feel like I’m supposed to be in jail.”

“You will be ruining kid’s chances to fix something that can only be fixed with time and help. With police officers in our schools, you’re shortening that time– taking it away even. We don’t need police officers. We need people that are trained to help those with mental health issues.”

“We left Haiti for a better life– a life where our entire world is not run by police. How can we even feel safe when our police officers walk around the school with their hands on a gun or a taser? We go to school and they tell us we have to make it better, but how can we have the courage to speak up and make a difference when our voices don’t matter now. We want to be seen, and we want to be heard, so hear us.”

“An incident has happened in my school where my best friend’s brother got pushed up against the wall and got slammed to the ground. SROs are causing problems and they’re not being held accountable; but us students are getting manhandled for something that could have been defused with a conversation– not putting hands on kids.”

“We fight to keep guns out of schools, yet we have someone in our school who has a gun every single day. That single person could take a life if they desired to. Cops are seen around America shooting innocent people, but we keep on inside of a school, which is supposed to be safe.”

“Police officers make me feel uncomfortable. It makes me feel like my school isn’t safe”.

“One incident is when I came out as LGBTQ, I started receiving death threats on social media from kids at my school. They would threaten to jump me or tell my family. I was terrified, so I told my school SRO about the threats. He looked me in the eyes and said, ‘Maybe you shouldn’t have come out; that was your choice.’ I’ve had friends with similar experiences, too. We don’t feel protected.”

“Police profile minorities on the street. Their attitude does not change when they get into schools. Most police in schools are not trained to deal with students. They are trained to deal with criminals.”


“Having police officers in schools is irresponsible and a waste of money because lots of problems could arise from them being in our school, such as: students being restrained with unnecessary force, safety issues like students being slammed down or other health concerns, and  students getting arrest for behavior that could be dealt with at school.”

“The principal even complained about this SRO’s excessive force, but no one did anything. A kid and his friend were running in the halls, playing around, and the SRO body slammed him. The security camera caught his actions. The SRO was detained and even ended up on the news. I wouldn’t want my friends, my siblings, or any others being hurt due to these awful SROs that JCPS hires.”

“Please, we need no cops for our school. This is because the money that you guys are paying them, you can just put it into teaching people on how to deescalate situations in schools.”

SB 8 takes decision making power away from these students and their parents, caregivers, and teachers – who know and care the most about local classrooms. It ignores the many resources our schools actually need, as well as data and experience that suggest guns in schools do not make any of Kentucky’s students safer.

Thank you to Senator McGarvey and Representatives Booker, Brown, Glenn, Graham, Jenkins, Meeks, Scott and Willner for voting against this harmful bill.

Calls are needed to Governor Beshear at (502)564-2611, encouraging him to veto SB 8. In the case of a veto, calls will also be needed to the Legislative Message line at (800)372-7181 to encourage legislators to let the veto stand.

You can also join us in Frankfort on Tuesday, February 25 at 1:30 for a day of action for our students and against SB 8. Register at