Little Rock, Ark. School District Considers Arming School Staff
An advisory panel is recommending that the Little Rock, Ark. School District not arm its security officers.
An advisory board voted 7-0 last week to direct district Superintendent Mike Poore to "cease" consideration of a proposal for arming 10 of the system's security officers, including the district's director of school security and four security officers who each patrol a circuit of elementary schools, says a news report.
Ultimately, any final decision on the armed security officers will be made by Arkansas Education Secretary Johnny Key, who acts in place of an elected school board in the state-controlled school district, it said.
Existing Arkansas law allows public school district employees to be armed -- conditioned on meeting 60 hours of training and other requirements regarding background checks and psychological evaluations -- for the purpose of defending students and staff members from violent attackers.
"Other Arkansas districts such as Clarksville and Westside Consolidated in Jonesboro have used commissioned school security officers for several years," the report notes.
The Little Rock district proposal had called for arming 10 staff members -- none of whom are campus security officers assigned to single campuses, according to the report. Four of the security officers to be armed would be roving school security patrol officers, according to the proposal. Also to be armed would be two investigators in the school district's security department, along with three supervisors and department Director Ron Self.
The 10 armed employees would be in addition to the district's long-standing practice of using school resource officers -- who are armed Little Rock police officers -- at all of the district's middle and high schools, says the report. The school district and the city split the cost of those law enforcement officers.