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Former Columbine High School principal speaks at school safety conference in central Ky.

As the Senate works to pass new gun control laws, one organization in Kentucky is discussing school safety.
Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 11:49 AM EDT
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RICHMOND, Ky. (WKYT) - As the Senate works to pass new gun control laws, one organization in Kentucky is discussing school safety.

The Kentucky Center for School Safety is hosting a two-day conference in Richmond.

A main goal of this Kentucky Association of School Resource Officers conference is to bridge a gap between administrators and the school resource officers (SROs). It’s something especially important right now because starting in August, every school district in the state is required to have an armed SRO on every campus.

“I was questioning my faith for the first time. The priest calls me down. He says, ‘Frank, you should have died that day, but God’s got a plan. Now you need to go help these other communities,’” said Frank DeAngelis, former Columbine High School principal.

That’s why DeAngelis is speaking in Richmond on a Wednesday afternoon, 23 years after 12 of his students and one of his teachers were killed.

“My kids were in trouble. I had about 25 girls coming out of the locker room going to physical education class. They were right in the crossfire,” DeAngelis said.

On April 20, 1999, DeAngelis stood in a hallway at Columbine High School between a gunman and students.

“I knew if I got the girls in the gymnasium, there would be access outside. Well, everything was going according to plan until I pull on the doors and they’re locked. All of a sudden, the gunman is coming around the corner. I reached in my pocket, and I had 30 keys on a key ring. First key I stuck in, and it opened on the first try. Or I wouldn’t be here,” DeAngelis said.

Or, in Kentucky Wednesday to speak on safety protocols.

“We actually did have a school resource officer exchanging gunfire, but the protocol at the time was to secure the perimeter,” DeAngelis said.

DeAngelis said protocols changed after Columbine. But as more news comes out of Uvalde, it’s clear mistakes are still being made.

“Most of these events are over within five minutes. So unfortunately, it seems we need to learn from these lessons,” DeAngelis said.

Speaking in front of a crowd of a few hundred of Kentucky’s school resource officer and administrators, DeAngelis said SROs can be vital in schools.

“We do so much more on the front end. Working together with administrators, we can make the campus a much safer place,” said James Poynter, the president of the Kentucky Association of School Resource Officers.

Poynter said new legislation that requires an armed SRO on every school campus is a step in the right direction of school safety.

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