Education

School threats in Kentucky rose dramatically last year, study shows.

In this file photo, Alyssa Edging, center, a student at McCracken County High School, embraces Erica Johnson, left, and Abigail Hicks, both juniors at Marshall County High School in Benton, Ky., following a prayer vigil at Paducah Tilghman High School in Paducah on Jan. 24, 2018.
In this file photo, Alyssa Edging, center, a student at McCracken County High School, embraces Erica Johnson, left, and Abigail Hicks, both juniors at Marshall County High School in Benton, Ky., following a prayer vigil at Paducah Tilghman High School in Paducah on Jan. 24, 2018. AP

Threats at Kentucky schools during the 2017-18 year rose dramatically from the previous year, according to a recent study.

An analysis done by the Educator’s School Safety Network shows Kentucky had 77 threats made towards schools last term, which was the eighth-most per capita in the United States. In the previous school year, Kentucky ranked 40th in the country.

Kentucky had six violent incidents defined as shootings, weapons present, suspicious items found or attacks, the study showed. The six include the shooting at Marshall County High School in January when a student opened fire and killed two students and injured 18 more.

The gun-related incidents in Fayette County last school year included a student accidentally shooting himself at Frederick Douglass High School and a loaded gun found in the possession of a juvenile boy at Henry Clay High School.

Because no national, mandated reporting system records threats or incidents of violence in schools, the report and comparisons from the Educator’s School Safety Network were built by its own research and data collection. It said it is highly unlikely that all violent incidents and threats were included in the data.



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States of Concern ratings Educator's School Safety Network

Following school shootings at Marshall County and in Florida last winter, Fayette County Public Schools and other Kentucky districts were beset with copycat school threats.

At the urging of Fayette Superintendent Manny Caulk, the school board recently approved a property tax increase that will pay for $13.5 million in school safety measures.

There was a massive increase in threats and incidents of violence nationally as well. There were 3,375 threats recorded last school year, which was a 62 percent increase from the previous year. In addition, 279 violent incidents were recorded, an increase of 113 percent from the 2016-17 school year, the study shows.

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