Friday, Aug. 23, 2013, a private Christian school in Bryant, Arkansas gained national attention via the Daily Caller with some leaders praising the school for a decision to train and arm the school staff in order to increase student safety. Signs on the campus warn: “Staff is armed and trained. Any attempt to harm children will be met with deadly force."
Local views from both sides of the debate are being heard in Bill Clinton's home state. Even though the private school parents are enthusiastic and supportive of the newly armed staff and are very proud their school counts student safety as a number one priority, it's unlikely that something similar will occur in public schools.
Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel shot that idea down about a month ago in a legal opinion: "Simply put, the code in my opinion does not authorize either licensing a school district as a guard company or classifying it as a private business authorized to employ its own teachers as armed guards."
On the flip side, a gubernatorial candidate, Republican Chris Coleman, is praising the move. He expressed nothing but admiration for Pastor Black and the Christian Academy's administration "for for recognizing that every moment counts when a gun-toting criminal intent on taking innocent lives is on campus."
Nationally, the "lock and load" debate surrounding arming teachers has now raised more questions. What happens when a Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman incident occurs? Will the school or the teacher be held responsible?
No matter the opinions of national critics nor local politicians, the pastor of the school, Perry Black, is determined to follow through. Already the pastor has armed guards for his Sunday services, so in his opinion, it's not a stretch to provide security during school by arming one to seven staff members on any given school day.
Training began at the Christian school early this year, a reaction to the Connecticut school shooting. It appears the private school is prepared to carry through and stand its ground against dangerous intruders who might harm their children.