Arkansas legislators discuss school shooting prevention
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KARK/KAIT) – Gun violence is becoming a growing concern not only in Arkansas but across the country.
“We have a history in our state of these types of incidents,” Director of Arkansas Criminal Justice Institute Cheryl May said.
It’s gotten to a point where some parents of students are worried about their school’s safety.
“I think we’ve really become desensitized to how awful the acts really are,” Craig Boes told content partner KARK.
Boes is the father of three students in the Little Rock School District.
“They need to be able to feel like they can come to school to learn and play with their friends and not have to worry about what might happen,” he said.
On Monday, Arkansas legislators met to discuss ways to prevent school shootings and ensure safety.
“We’ve been working on school safety for a very long time,” May stated.
There were 30 recommendations given by May and other speakers recapping actions that have been in place since 2018.
However, lawmakers say some of those measures need to improve, like providing a student resource officer for every school campus.
“Recommendation two is, if financially practical, schools should have at least one SRO for each campus,” May said.
Currently, only 20% of Arkansas campuses have an SRO, according to KARK.
When it comes to guns, school districts in Arkansas are allowed commission school security officers. More specifically, school faculty can carry a gun on campus after 60 hours of training and getting certified through the Arkansas state police.
“All the state police have told me that this is a very viable program,” May said.
Other recommendations for schools include:
- Control access to school buildings during school hours
- Require visitors to sign in or check-in and wear badges
- Equip classroom doors with locks so doors can be locked from the inside
- Campuses have a single-entry point for main campus buildings
- District campuses have any bullet-related/anti-shatter-resistant glass and walls at reception desk check-in
Even though schools can’t guarantee total safety, some parents are still confident their children will be protected.
“I still feel that school is one of the safest places in the world for them to be,” Boes said.
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