Clarksville Schools to Arm Staff Once Licenses Approved

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The Clarksville School District says they're still planning to arm teachers and faculty this upcoming school year.

Their security plan hit a snag last Thursday (Aug. 1) after Attorney General Dustin McDaniel released an opinion which says Arkansas law allowing private businesses to provide armed security does not extend to Arkansas Schools.

"We do not agree with the Attorney General's original opinion that we cannot hold that security license," Superintendent David Hopkins said. "We believe we do have the authority, that the board had the authority to issue us the license and we believe we have the authority to hang on to that license."

Hopkins explained the school district is planning to move forward with their plan and have licensed teachers and staff armed during the school day. However, the school district is still waiting on licenses for about a third of those who have been trained. Until the licensing is received, the school district says their plan is on hold.

"It's a no-brainer," Hopkins said. "It should be done. And when we get that in place and get our security signs up, as a parent myself I know I'm going to feel much better about the security of our buildings."

The community seems split on whether the school district is making the correct decision.

"This town's right next to the interstate and there's a lot of creeps that get pulled over and get on the run," said Colby Morehead, a recent graduate of Clarksville High School. "We got on lock down a couple of times, bomb threats. I think people do need to be armed inside of the school."

"I just don't think they should be armed," said Lonnie Harmon, who lives in Clarksville. "It's just waiting for something bad to happen."

"I think it's good," explained Jame Skinner, whose granddaughter goes to Clarksville Schools. "They should be able to protect the children. I mean we all know the things that have gone down in the past and you don't want that happening to your kids."

"I just don't like it," Harmon said. "I don't like guns in school period."

Bill Sadler of Arkansas State Police tells 5NEWS the state private investigator and private security board that issues these types of licenses will meet next week. Until then, Hopkins says this security plan is on hold.