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    KY governor closes loophole possibly allowing violent offenders in schools

    By Madeline Ottilie,

    2024-04-17
    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=3uBq1a_0sUcFCPS00

    A new change to a Kentucky law promises to close a loophole that could have allowed violent offenders into school classrooms.

    Current Kentucky law allows courts to wait up to 20 business days to notify school districts that one of their students has been charged with a crime. Going forward, as a result of the change, courts will have to make that notification within 24 hours.

    The notification will be required for felony offenses and certain misdemeanors, including those that involve drugs, guns, physical injuries and sex crimes.

    The idea to close the loophole was born in Boone County.

    “We recognized a problem in a notification and we were proactive in ensuring that this didn't become a problem,” said Major Philip Ridgell with the Boone County Sheriff's Office.

    The sheriff’s office and the county attorney’s office collaborated with local schools and other partners to initiate the effort. Then, they took the idea to Kentucky State Senator John Schickel.

    The governor signed off on the change earlier this month. It will take effect in July.

    Ridgell said current law allowed juvenile offenders to return to school and possibly sit in the same classroom as their victim or a witness.

    “Plainly stated, this will make our schools safer,” he said.

    While the court system doesn’t always have a direct say in what action school districts take, Boone County Attorney Jordan Turner said the change aims to improve public safety.

    “The other hope is to give parents some peace of mind that when we drop our kids off at school, they're being kept safe,” she said.

    Ridgell said the county is not dealing with chronic issues related to this problem, but wanted to be proactive in fixing the law before it became one.

    “We don't know what could happen if schools are not given information up front about students who have been charged with sometimes pretty serious crimes,” Turner said. “I think that is the danger.”

    If charges are dismissed, or the case is diverted from the court system, schools will be required to destroy any records related to the case.

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