Local School Official Addresses Lawmakers About Guns In Classrooms

The superintendent of Clarksville schools spent Wednesday in Little Rock talking with state lawmakers about school security.

Superintendent David Hopkins was there after a state board denied the school district’s request to arm its teachers with guns inside the classrooms earlier this month.

Now a group of state legislators want to find a way to bypass that decision.

Hopkins went before a joint meeting of the house and senate judiciary committees on Wednesday. The meeting was to discuss other ways schools can improve security. Clarksville schools spent $70,000 and time training its faculty.

The plan for faculty to be armed was shot down by Attorney General Dustin McDaniel earlier this month. The state board of security agencies also suspended the district’s plan, but Hopkins remains determined.

“We feel like we have got some really solid footing to look forward if we choose to do so,” said Hopkins.

Other school district officials voiced their concern for school safety as well. Lake Hamilton Supt. Steve Anderson has full-time armed guards in his schools. He brought new concerns to the meeting after recent nationwide school shootings.

“Those types of things changed the way I looked at firearms and law enforcement in public schools, and I think they’ve changed the way we do business in education,” Anderson said.

Hopkins said his ideas were well received at the meeting and aims to have Clarksville armed and ready by the end of the school year.

Some parents had threatened to pull their kids from the school district if guns were allowed in Clarksville classrooms, saying they didn’t want their children near firearms.

Hopkins said he will appeal the state’s decision concerning armed teachers and staff and will make his case in front of the state officials in the coming months.

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