BENTON, Ky. (WTVF) — Thursday marks two years since the deadly shooting at Marshall County High School in Kentucky. Since then, more attention and resources have gone to make Kentucky schools more secure.
Several students were shot that day, but Bailey Holt and Preston Cope, both 15, died of their injuries. Four other students were critically injured.
The Kentucky School Boards Association has estimated that districts will need $18 million to improve facilities. They will also need another $121 million annually to cover the costs associated with added school resource officers and counselors.
Right now, it's not clear exactly how much money will come from the state. The School Safety and Resiliency Act requires districts to hire or contract with enough school resource officers, as funding and personnel are available, to provide one for every school. Likewise, districts must also have one counselor on staff for every 250 students.
There are some school districts that had already begun efforts to improve school security. Fayette County Public Schools, for example, started after Marshall County High School and the Parkland mass shooting both happened in 2018.
They came up with a 10-point plan to improve security at schools there. It included provisions like issuing photo ID's to students and staff, upgrading emergency communications systems, bringing more law enforcement officers and mental health professionals into schools, installing metal detectors at district high schools, and monitoring social media activity more closely.
Kentucky legislators have promised to include school safety funding in the upcoming budget.
Helping students cope
Job Comfort Dog is heading to Marshall County High School today to help students get through the day. He and his handlers also helped with support right after the shooting happened.
Since her death, a scholarship in Bailey Holt's name has skyrocketed to $28,000, according to the Murray Ledger. The Bailey Holt Memorial Nursing Scholarship is designed to go to a Marshall County student that plans to go to Murray State and study nursing.
Tonight, a Night of Hope and Healing is being held for students at the Kenneth Shadowen Performing Arts Center. Organizers say they hope this offers an opportunity for the community to gather and continue to heal. Doors open at 6.
Gabe Parker, who was 15 at the time of the shooting, has been charged with two counts of murder and 12 counts of first-degree assault.