The returning students at Clarksville High School will be met by more than 20 armed personnel when classes resume in August, as administrators at the northwest Arkansas school have permitted nearly two dozen teachers and other staffers to bring weapons into the classroom.
The school district, using a state law authorizing licensed security guards to carry firearms on campus, put up approximately $50,000 for school faculty to enroll in programs certifying teachers and other staffers as security personnel. According to KWHN.com, those enrolled in the program were also given a $1,100 stipend to purchase a handgun.
Superintendent David Hopkins told KWHN that teachers and other personnel enrolled in the program will receive regular training, and signs notifying students about the armed personnel will be posted outside Clarksville High. However, he also said the identities of faculty members carrying concealed weapons at the school will remain veiled from the public.
“The plan we’ve been given in the past is, ‘Well, lock your doors, turn off your lights and hope for the best,” Hopkins told KWHN. “That’s not a plan.”
Others are less optimistic about the new policy, however. Former Arkansas Education Association President Donna Morey told KWHN she believed the idea was “awful,” adding that the new policy may result in students being accidentally shot -- or worse, having easy access to a weapon to harm others.
“We just think educators should be in the business of educating students,” she said. “Not carrying a weapon.”
Photo credit: Robert Nelson / Flickr (license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en)