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Arkansas Teachers “Armed” as They Head to Classes This Fall

Screen shot 2013-07-31 at 2.28.59 PMIn the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre, the NRA proposed putting armed guards in schools to increase safety. Now, one town in Arkansas is doing just that—but with school staff rather than professional security guards.

With 53 hours of training under their belts, more than 20 administrators, teachers and school employees in Clarksville, Ark., will head back to school this August packing a 9mm handgun, AP reports.

“The plan we’ve been given in the past is ‘Well, lock your doors, turn off your lights and hope for the best,’” Superintendent David Hopkins told AP. But as deadly incidents continued to happen in schools, he explained, the district decided, “That’s not a plan.”

Although most proposals to put armed guards in schools after Newtown went nowhere thanks to “resistance from educators or warnings from insurance companies that schools would face higher premiums,” Arkansas already had a law on the books that allows “licensed, armed security guards on campus,” according to AP. The extensive training school staffers in Clarksville received allows them to be considered guards.

Students will not know which faculty and staff will be carrying weapons, although signs will be posted at each school about the armed guards—already a greater deterrent than declaring schools as ‘gun-free zones’.

UPDATE: After a River Valley school district announced it would arm its teachers, the Arkansas attorney general issued an opinion stating school districts may not arm their staffs with guns.
Attorney General Dustin McDaniel issued the official opinion Thursday, saying that a state law allowing private businesses to provide armed security to clients does not extend to Arkansas schools.
In his statement, McDaniel points out that “no person in this state shall possess a firearm…(on) property of a public or private school…upon any school bus or…at a designated bus stop.”
McDaniel also states it is up to individual prosecutors whether to proceed with charges against anyone who seemingly violates the law concerning carrying firearms on school grounds.
Several parents pulled their children from Clarksville schools in July after hearing that the school would start arming teachers and staff who carried out property training. The Clarksville School District superintendent told 5NEWS he believed the action would prevent school gun violence and increase safety at the local schools.
The opinion was issued in response to written questions McDaniel received from state Rep. Hank Wilkins (D – Pine Bluff) concerning whether state law prohibited schools from arming their teachers and staff.

Read more at Bearing Arms

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