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Marshall County Students Voice Concerns About School Safety

Taylor Inman

Students from Marshall County High School said they are concerned with vulnerabilities in the school’s safety plan.

A group of students discussed concerns last week at the Marshall County Public Library in Benton with retired Kentucky State Police lieutenant and Democratic candidate for Marshall County sheriff Trent Weaver.

Freshmen Lela Free said she is most concerned with the unintended effects of the metal detector system. Currently, students are wanded as they enter the school each morning. Free said this creates a ‘bottleneck’ of students waiting in a small space with no protection.

 

Heather Adams is a parent and said it gives her son anxiety. “They are standing in this line, all pushed together, and these people aren’t checked...know what I’m saying? They’re just riped to be gunned down,” Adams said.

 

A portion of Marshall County High School is scheduled to be renovated this summer. Students at the meeting said the renovations may help alleviate the bottlenecking issue.

 

“A lot of these plans have already been in the works prior to the shooting,” said Superintendent Trent Lovett said. “We’ve been in the planning stages for these renovations for a couple of years.”

 

Lovett said the renovation plans include efforts to improve school safety, including limiting the number of entrances and adding a ‘buzz-in’ system at the front office. He said the high school has 86 doors. He said the renovations will include changes to the commons area, library, cafeteria, front office and the school bus drop off area.  

 

The students at the Friday meeting spoke at the local March For Our Lives rally last month.

 

Junior Keaton Conner said she wants routine school inspections to look at how to make the building safer.

“I met with Governor Matt Bevin and asked if he would be supportive of state funding for someone to come examine our school and tell us what needs to be remodeled, because I know our school is looking at that, but not every school is,” Conner said.

 

Another concern brought up by students included racial and cultural sensitivity training for resource officers. They said they wanted officers that would be able to provide a sense of safety, while being able to work well with children.

 

Adams asked Trent Weaver if he is supportive of arming teachers. He said he is only supportive of the idea if the teacher is as trained as a law enforcement officer and if they kept the weapon stored where no student could get to it.

Adams said the group of students will meet with other local sheriff candidates to discuss similar topics.

 

Taylor is a recent Murray State University graduate where she studied journalism and history. When she's not reporting for WKMS, she enjoys creative writing and traveling. She loves writing stories that involve diversity, local culture and history, nature and recreation, art and music, and national or local politics. If you have a news tip or idea, shoot her an email at tinman1@murraystate.edu!
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