Board votes against, then for school employees to carry guns

LITTLE ROCK (KATV) -- Thirteen different school districts are once again allowed to have armed employees serving as security on campus.

It's a decision that seems to stick out around the state, especially when just last month this same board suspended the same licenses that it verified Wednesday.

Earlier in the day the decision stood to continue them as suspended, until one person's tardiness resulted in changing the entire outcome.

At the end Wednesday morning's meeting of the Arkansas Board of Private Investigators and Security Agencies, the board stood pat to not allow any school employees to serve as armed security guards.

That is, until a late board member walked in causing a revote which completely flips the outcome.

"The decision was to allow the current security officers to remain in place, the applications that have already been approved, those officers that were already in place," said Ralph Sims, the board's chairman.

"We will not be approving any new applications, unless something changes."

It's a rejoicing decision for Cutter Morning Star Superintendent Nancy Anderson.

"Really excited with the decisions today," Anderson said following the meeting. "It's all about the safety of the kids, that's all it is."

Lake Hamilton is another district that's able to continue arming its staff, and not forced to hire outside guards.

"It will at least give school districts an opportunity to gradually change their system to fit their budget," said Scott Hickam, an attorney representing Lake Hamilton School District.

Board member, Jack Acre, who owns an independent security company, gave an opposing view after the decision. He believes teachers should only have one role, and that doesn't include protecting campus.

"Schools should bid it out to outside contractors, not have employees as security. If you're a teacher you can't teach school and be a security guard," Acre said.

This is an issue some look at as bending state law, and it's expected to be at the top of many agendas once legislative session begins in February.