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Veterans volunteer to protect schools, increase security

In the wake of the deadly shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, some Kentucky veterans suggest putting people with prior military experience inside scho
Published: May. 31, 2022 at 2:55 PM CDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - In the wake of the deadly shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, some Kentucky veterans suggest putting people with certain military experience inside schools to increase security and safety.

According to Jeremy Harrell, CEO and founder of the Veteran’s Club Inc., there are 19 million veterans in America and 131,000 public and private kindergarten through 12th grade schools.

Unlike police whose departments have struggled to recruit officers, there are plenty of vets available and willing to help protect schools.

“We take an oath to defend our Constitution against enemies, foreign and domestic, and even though we may not be in uniform any more, that doesn’t expire,” Harrell said.

Since becoming a veteran himself, Harrell’s job is to help other vets assimilate into society. He said many veterans have trouble finding a purpose as meaningful as serving the country upon their retirement.

“We talk all the time about veterans who struggle and law enforcement retirees who struggle when they get done doing such an honorable profession with [the question] what do I do now?,” Harrell said. “Well, this would be a great opportunity to get them back into a field they’re specialized in.”

Harrell envisions veteran SROs roaming the school hallways dressed in plain clothes, which he said can be less intimidating than a uniform.

Trained in weapons and disciplined workers, Harrell believes veterans could not only be protectors, but mentors for the students.

Harrell said the public shouldn’t allow funding to be an issue.

“Some people have an issue with the money, [asking] how do we afford that?’ Harrell said. “How do we afford not to? If you talk to the victims’ parents, their children are worth more than money, and I think we need to realize that these lives are worth more than money.”

Harrell said some veterans have told him they’d become an SRO on a volunteer basis. Others could use the money to supplement their often low military pay.

He added not all veterans would be qualified to be a SRO, but former military police could be a great option, for example. Harrell said veterans should also have to pass mental health evaluations before taking on the job.

“I have kids, I have four kids, and I don’t want my kids going to school worried about something like that happening,” Harrell said. “I want them to worry about passing a test or a quiz, not so much are they going to make it home alive.”

Harrell has already discussed the idea with local lawmakers and plans to formally meet with them soon.

To learn more about the Veteran’s Club Inc., click or tap here.

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