A license to allow some teachers and staff in the Clarksville School District to carry concealed handguns and work as armed guards was suspended Wednesday. The vote by the Arkansas Board of Private Investigators and Private Security Agencies came in the wake of an opinion by Attorney General Dustin McDaniel that using the licensing law to arm staff violates state law.
Twelve other districts have similar licenses classifying them as private security firms, and the board voted to suspend licenses to all districts. The board called arming school personnel “a danger to the health, safety and welfare of the public.”
Clarksville Superintendent David Hopkins says he believes schools need to take steps beyond current programs to protect students.
“I really believe we’re going to have to harden our targets, harden the public schools, so that we’re not so vulnerable to these people that have these crazy plans and come into our schools and do such horrific atrocities with our people,” says Hopkins.
Hopkins also says the requirements that were in place for approved staffers to carry guns were more rigorous and required more firearms training than what is required if the district hired an outside security firm.
He says, “We can still hire armed security through another company but yet the requirements for that security firm is that those individuals have a high school diploma and that they have ten hours of training. Whereas our people, that we knew, that we have vetted, many of them hold multiple degrees. They not only received a ten hour training for a commissioned security guard, but they received 53 hours of firearms training.”