Pryor: Look at School Safety Options Instead of Arming Teachers

Posted on: 5:09 pm, April 5, 2013, by

This week the National Rifle Association announced it wants schools to designate a school staff member to be armed as part of its plan for school safety.

Others, including U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., said there might be a better way to protect schools.

Pryor said he’s not being critical of the NRA  proposal because he had not read it by Friday, but he has seen news accounts. But he said there is a better option for school safety than putting teachers with guns in the classroom.

“I`m not saying it’s bad, but I`m not sure that you want to have more guns on campus. But you might want to have fewer guns on campus,” said Pryor.

A better solution would be the COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services) program putting training officers in schools, according to Pryor

Pryor said this during an interview Friday (April 5) at 5NEWS newsroom in Fayetteville.

The NRA unveiled its school safety plan on Tuesday. It recommends that schools train and arm at least one staff member, such as a teacher or principal and beef up training for school resource officers.

Asa Hutchinson, NRA school shield director, said training for the COPS program is similar to what the NRA wants.

As for teachers, he says they should focus on teaching, but schools would have the option of designating a staff member to be armed.

“It would be specifically designated by the superintendent and the school authorities. The background checks and would be that added level of protection similar to a school resource officer.

Pryor has declared he is seeking re-election, so far he has no announced opposition.

Hutchinson, a Republican, is running for governor and has one announced GOP opponent, Curtis Coleman.

Democrat Bill Halter also has said he is running for governor.