School safety is still a top priority at one River Valley school district. With kids headed back to class in Clarksville, administrators say they’re still working to be able to arm faculty and staff. However, that plan’s been put on hold.
Over the summer, administrators at the district worked to come up with security plans in case students lives are ever threatened, according to Superintendent David Hopkins.
More than 20 teachers and staff members were trained on a professional level in gun safety, with the plan being for them to carry a concealed gun during the school day, Hopkins said.
“You have to realize that there’s only one thing that’s going to stop that guy when he comes through the front door with a gun and that’s a good guy with a gun,” Hopkins said.
Their plan was shot down by the Arkansas Attorney General and by The Arkansas Board of Private Investigators and Private Security Agencies. The board decided Wednesday (Aug. 14) to suspend the licenses of school staff and faculty members registered with the state as “security personnel.”
Hopkins said he disagreed with the decision to suspend the licensing.
“It’s very disappointing,” Hopkins said. “There’s no question about it. We really felt like we had a good plan in place. We started out I want to stress with our local police, our local sheriff. This plan was conceived and brought together with all of them involved. So this was certainly a community effort.”
Hopkins said the goal of the program was for teachers and faculty members to keep kids as safe as possible during the school day.
“Since 1980, we’ve lost more people in school shootings than we have in tornadoes since the 1880s,” Hopkins said. “Yet, look at the emphasis we place on tornadoes. And you want to talk about fire? We haven’t lost a kid since the 50s to a fire in a public school. But look at the expense and all of the things we go through to take care of our kids in case there is a fire.”
Hopkins said he plans to appeal the decision to revoke the licensing and is still hoping to pursue the school’s security program.
As of now, Hopkins said the only person who will be armed on the Clarksville campus will be the district’s school resource officer.
All of the other licenses have been suspended for two months. The board is expected to discuss whether to permanently revoke the licenses at their next meeting.