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Monday, August 19, 2013

Plan To Arm Teachers Is Blocked In Arkansas

In this photo taken July 11, 2013, practice air-powered handguns sit on a teacher's desk in a classroom at Clarksville High School in Clarksville, Ark. Twenty Clarksville School District staff members are training during the summer to be armed security guards on campus. (Danny Johnston/AP)

In this photo taken July 11, 2013, practice air-powered handguns sit on a teacher’s desk in a classroom at Clarksville High School in Clarksville, Ark. Twenty Clarksville School District staff members are training during the summer to be armed security guards on campus. (Danny Johnston/AP)

After 20 children and six teachers were killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn. in December, school officials across the country began to look at different ways to keep students safe.

All schools have emergency plans, some schools have armed security personnel, but David Hopkins, superintendent of Clarksville School District in Arkansas, wants his teachers armed.

You have got to meet that person with the same sort of an armed resistance, to either disrupt what he is trying to do, or eliminate that threat all together.

– David Hopkins, superintendent

After 53 hours of training, 22 volunteers in the district were certified as security guards.

The team was to be armed with small pistols, concealed under faculty and staffs’ clothing during the school day. But Clarksville’s program was suspended.

The county is one of 13 whose license allowing weapons to be carried on campus was revoked by the same state regulatory board that issued them.

The board reversed the decision at the recommendation of Arkansas’ Attorney General citing legal issues with the provision.

Superintendent Hopkins told Here & Now that arming teachers in his schools would create an “equal force” against an intruder.

“You have got to meet that person with the same sort of an armed resistance, to either disrupt what he is trying to do, or eliminate that threat all together,” Hopkins said.

Arkansas’ Education Commissioner Tom Kimbrell said that he is of a different opinion than Superintendent Hopkins.

“I’m just real concerned when we began to arm individuals in our public schools that are not constantly trained, have not been put in those situations in real life,” Kimbrell told Here & Now.

In 60 days, the Arkansas Board of Private Investigators and Private Security Agencies will have individual revocation hearings for all those with commissions.

Until then, the schools will have to depend on resource officers and their previous emergency plans.

Guest

  • David Hopkins, superintendent of the Clarksville School District in Arkansas.
  • Tom Kimbrell, Arkansas Commissioner of Education.

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