Clarksville school leaders hope to expand Board's gun decision

Arkansas Board of Private Investigators and Private Security Agencies meeting on Aug. 14, 2013

CLARKSVILLE (KATV) - In Clarksville schools, there are now 14 trained and licensed teachers and staff members carrying guns on campus, including the superintendent.

The state's Security Board recently ruled that districts were allowed to arm properly trained and licensed teachers, but that ruling only lasts for two years. Superintendent David Hopkins wants to create a law to make the decision permanent so he and other district administrators are pushing for statewide legislation that would allow other districts to follow suit.

"We think we have a good plan and we're excited about being able to move forward with it right now," said Superintendent David Hopkins.

Hopkins said they're also considering having those 14 emergency response team members trained as auxiliary law enforcement officers.

"We've heard a lot of comments about, 'Well, why have you not looked at law enforcement?' So, by doing this, we are looking at law enforcement and we're looking at kind of an additional amount of training to bring those people up to that level," Hopkins added.

Clarksville's school board has raised concerns, though, saying there are still too many questions.

Hopkins is still looking to the future, though, saying he has been contacted by other districts hoping to implement similar measures. With that in mind, they're working to have a law passed so other districts can follow suit.

"We're looking at working with our local legislators and legislators across the state to try to put together a comprehensive program so that there's not the confusion involved in the future when school districts want to try to provide this extra level of security for their students."

District leaders hope to make a decision about training the auxiliary law enforcement officers and their next board meeting.

Clarksville School District arming more than 20 teachers, staff (July 30)
Ark. AG: Schools can't arm teachers, staff (Aug. 1)
Superintendent: Hiding from gunmen "failed policy"
(Aug. 2)
Ark. AG: School must name teachers in gun program (Aug. 5)
Ark. police release documents tied to gun program
(Aug. 6)

Clarksville School District going against AG's opinion (Aug. 6)
Clarksville School District waiting to see if safety plan can move forward (Aug. 8)
Panel suspends all state public school security officer gun licenses (Aug. 14)
School districts back to arming employees as security (Sept. 12)

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