Board Says No to Arming Clarksville Teachers

The Clarksville School district will not have armed faculty and staff serving as security guards when school starts next week.

The decision was made Wednesday (Aug. 14) morning after the Arkansas Board of Private Investigators and Private Security Agencies met in Little Rock, according to a report from our CBS affiliate THV 11. The board voted to suspend the licenses of school staff and faculty members registered with the state as “security personnel.”

The program will be suspended for two months. The board is expected to discuss whether to permanently revoke the licenses at their next meeting.

Clarksville Schools Superintendent David Hopkins said the district had planned to arm select members of faculty and staff if the board approved the remaining handful of licenses at the meeting. However, those licenses were denied at the meeting according to Hopkins.

About two thirds of the staff had already received their licensing. However, the board waited to license the remaining one third of the trained staff after Attorney General Dustin McDaniel released an opinion on Aug. 1 which said Arkansas law allowing private businesses to provide armed security does not extend to Arkansas Schools.

“I just think that his opinion was erroneous and it’s unfortunate for us at this point,” Hopkins said. “We’re going to go back and review everything and move forward from here.”

Hopkins said he was surprised after McDaniel released his opinion earlier this month.

“When you consult with Arkansas State Police and apparently everything is on go and then the attorney general’s opinion comes out and pulls the rug out from underneath it certainly it brings into question some of the things that we’ve done,” Hopkins said.

To date, Hopkins estimates the school district has spent $68,000 on the training. To hire a school resource officer to patrol the buildings would have cost the district approximately $50,000, Hopkins said.

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