Arkansas Education

Central High School
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Hundreds of students at Little Rock’s Central High School walked out of class Wednesday in a show of solidarity with young people conducting similar demonstrations at schools across the nation and outside the White House.

At Central, students chanted slogans like “books not bullets” and “this is what democracy looks like,” while holding handmade signs that read things like “Never again,” “Central stands with Parkland,” and “Why are we still talking about this?”

Cheryl May Arkansas School Safety Commission
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A panel tasked by Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson to make recommendations on how schools can try to prevent mass shootings has begun its work. On Tuesday, the Arkansas School Safety Commission held its first meeting. You can hear the report above.

Arkansas school students are expected to join thousands around the country March 14 in a national school walkout at 10 a.m. (local time). Billed as “Enough,” the demonstration is a coordinated public response to the shooting last month at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

It’s expected to last 17 minutes — one for each victim.

In Fayetteville, school officials are helping students coordinate a walkout at 10 a.m., though a district document also recognizes that some students have obtained a permit from the city to march on the Washington Count Courthouse — a demonstration the district has gently warned against.

Dr. Christopher M. Jones at a 3D printer inside the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub in North Little Rock.
Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub

A new executive director and lead maker has been named for the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub. The non-profit based in North Little Rock provides cutting edge tools like 3D printers and advanced computer technology to inspire people, help them learn and create.

Asa Hutchinson signs an executive order Thursday creating the Arkansas School Safety Commission.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

In the aftermath of the latest school shooting in the United States, an Arkansas panel will study ways to better protect students and teachers. Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed an executive order Thursday creating the Arkansas School Safety Commission.

The 11 members come from education and law enforcement backgrounds, and the governor will appoint a mental health professional in the coming days. Additional appointees from different geographic regions of the state may also be named.

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

Arkansas lawmakers are beginning work on school security proposals they want to take up during next year's session in response to the recent Florida high school shooting.

Sen. Missy Irvin and Rep. Mark Lowery said the Joint Performance Review Committee will hold a series of hearings this year and work on a package of bills to recommend aimed at improving student safety. The Republican lawmakers co-chair the committee.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaking to President Donald Trump.

Governor Asa Hutchinson promoted the idea of teachers being armed in schools at a meeting with President Trump on Monday and called for federal terrorist-fighting funds to be redirected locally to schools. The President, who was hosting a few dozen governors during the National Governors Association annual winter meeting, indirectly responded by saying deporting gang members is part of the solution.

classroom desks

Arkansas lawmakers have advanced a proposal to allow taxpayers with tax-deductible 529 college savings plans to withdraw funds for tuition at public, private and religious K-12 schools.

A legislative subcommittee on Wednesday recommended including the change in a budget bill for the state treasurer's office. The proposal now heads to the Joint Budget Committee.

guns in schools

Threats of gun violence have resulted in arrests at a handful of Arkansas schools in the days following a mass shooting at a Florida high school.

School district officials in Fayetteville and Gurdon said local police are investigating both online and verbal threats of violence reported to school administration. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported schools in Berryville, Mammoth Spring and Star City saw similar threats since the Feb. 14 mass shooting and reported them to police.

Dr. Kenneth Jones and and Dr. Laverne Bell-Tolliver were two of the 25 students who desegregated Little Rock's junior high schools in phase two of the school district's desegregation plan. Bell-Tolliver edited the book The First Twenty-Five, An Oral Histo
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The story of the 1957 desegregation of Little Rock’s Central High School by nine black students is well known. But overshadowed is phase two of the school district’s desegregation plan, which involved 25 students attending five previously all-white junior high schools in 1961 and 1962.