An Arkansas school district will start arming its teachers with concealed weapons this fall.
According to the Las Vegas Sun, training has already started at Clarksville High School which will resume classes in August. When the school returns to session more than 20 teachers, principles and administrators will be armed with guns.
Superintendent David Hopkins said that most school’s in the country don’t have an effective plan to deal for school shootings.
Hopkins said: “The plan we’ve been given in the past is ‘Well, lock your doors, turn off your lights and hope for the best’… That’s not a plan.”
The Star reports that there is a law on the books in Arkansas that allows armed guards in school. When classes resume in the Clarksville School District the teachers and other employees will be considered guards.
The NY Daily News reports that the teachers participating in the program have been given a $1,100 stipend to purchase a weapon. The school district will pay about $50,000 for ammunition and training.
Assistant principal Cheyne Dougan, who took the Nighthawk Training Course, said that teacher / guards were trained with several drills that mimicked real-world situations.
Dougan said: “There’s pressure on you, because you’re shooting real bullets if this actually happened. I was nervous to start, but once it started and I was going through what they had taught us, it just took over.”
Jon Hodoway, director of training for Nighthawk, said: “That teacher is going to respond to one thing and one thing alone, and that’s someone is in the building either actively or attempting to kill people. That’s it. They’re not going to enforce the law. They’re not going to make traffic stops. If somebody is outside acting the fool, they’re going to call the police.”
The district argues that the plan will cost less than hiring armed guards but critics say that the weapons aren’t needed in the first place. Donna Morey, former president of the Arkansas Education Association, said that arming teachers will increase the chance of a student getting shot.
Morey said: “We just think educators should be in the business of educating students, not carrying a weapon.”
Signs will be posted at any school participating in the program but the student’s will not know which teachers are carrying weapons.
What do you think of Arkansas arming its teachers? Do you think this is a good idea?