LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) –Two Kentucky veterans are suggesting a solution to increasing security at schools; hire veterans to have veterans volunteer as School Resource Officers (SROs).
Since Tuesday’s mass shooting in Texas, veterans like many other groups, have felt the need to help schools.
“At this point, we gotta do something to protect these kids,” said former Marine Jerry Ratterree in Ashland.
Ratterree, along with Army veteran Justin Bishop, from Lexington, had the same reaction to the news of the Texas school shooting.
“I mean, the more I read into it, the more angry I got, and I felt a sense of disappointment in myself cause I’m like, we could have prevented this,” Bishop said.
Both veterans bring up great points.
First, Ratterree said there are more than enough inactive reserve personnel who fill the thousands of openings for SROs across the country.
“There’s roughly about 700-750-thousand on inactive reserve right now. And I believe there’s 131,000 K-12 schools in this country, so you have more than enough personnel available, and you wouldn’t be affecting our combat readiness.”
Ratterree said schools could use a similar setup like in the military to arm the veterans in the event of a school shooting.
“They could sign for a gun at a local law enforcement office like they would at an armory on base. Then that’s one layer of deterrent to stop these shootings,” Ratterree said.
Bishop, who served in Iraq, said veterans are highly trained to handle intense situations like school shootings.
“We run to the gunfight, we don’t run away from it,” Bishop said. “And we know body language, we know posture, we know when something’s not right. We’re put in a certain mindset. And for a lot of us veterans, we’re still in that mindset for years to come on end.”
Both Ratterree and Bishop said they believe the openings for SROs in school districts will be filled easily by veterans volunteering alone.
“I mean they protect our country, so who better to protect our children,” Ratterree said.
“If we can deploy out of Fort Knox, why can’t we defend our stateside home, our neighborhood, our communities, our schools, our churches?” Bishop said.
Ratterree and Bishop said veterans already face challenges finding civilian work after retiring. Bishop said he knows there’s a stigma around veterans suffering from PTSD, because it’s held him back from getting work initially.
However, Ratterree said that psych evaluations would vet that.
“Why can we not take these veterans and re-qualify them and put them in these schools? It would help our veterans and protect our children,” Ratterree said.