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Heartland sheriff wants to see schools take action to protect students

One Heartland Sheriff wants to see schools take action to protect students in the wake of this week's deadly school shooting.
Published: May. 26, 2022 at 6:35 PM CDT
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GRAVES COUNTY, Ky. (KFVS) - One Heartland sheriff wants to see schools take action to protect students in the wake of this week’s deadly school shooting in Texas.

Graves County Sheriff Jon Hayden responded to two school shootings in western Kentucky in the past

“It’s hard to describe the emotions that you would go through,” he said.

On December 1, 1997, Jon Hayden first responded to the Heath High School shooting as a parent.

“I was also a detective and once I arrived, I realized that my son was okay at that point I was assigned to work in conjunction with the coroner at the school scene,” said Hayden.

Hayden said every time he hears of another school shooting, it always hits home.

“Children, teachers, parents, staff. It just rips the wound wide open again every time this happens,” said Hayden.

On January 23, 2018, Hayden served as McCracken County sheriff and went to Marshall County High School to assist with that deadly shooting.

He said these districts and others found a way in the midst of crisis to better protect their students.

“Most all these jurisdictions that were conversations before the school shooting about school safety and then after they experience one of these it seems like all of a sudden that they do what it takes,” said Hayden.

Under current Kentucky law, all schools should have an armed resource officer this year. Hayden said a lack of money is keeping that from happening in some counties.

“But let’s not wait until something like this happens in your backyard, in your neighborhood. Let’s not wait for that to happen to all of a sudden say, ‘hey, we got to find funding to make this happen,’” said Hayden.

In Graves County, Hayden said they face a different hurdle.

“Part of the issue I believe they’re having based off of conversations I’ve had with the superintendent here is that they can’t find qualified candidates to fill those positions,” said Hayden.

Graves County currently has two school resource officers for 10 schools.

Sheriff Hayden said to keep students safe, everyone needs to work together.

“We have to monitor social media, we have tip lines at the schools, we have public tip lines for the public to report suspicious activity. We just have to continue to be diligent,” said Hayden.

According to Sheriff Hayden, the Graves County School District continues working to place a school resource officer in every building.

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