ThinkProgress posted a story on Friday about a private Christian School in Arkansas that has taken the security of its students very seriously, to the extent that teachers are trained in how to use firearms and are armed in the classroom.
The Arkansas Christian Academy is a private school and is not subject to the same laws governing public schools in the state regarding guns in the classroom. Pastor Perry Black posted signs outside the school this week, warning people that “Staff is armed and trained. Any attempt to harm children will be met with deadly force.”
The message is very clear, and some folks are not real comfortable with the fact that from one to as many as seven staff members will be packing weapons on any given school day.
A rural school district in Colorado has also gotten around state laws, but in a different way. The Dove Creek and the Dolores County School District RE-2, a small rural community in the southwest corner of the state, voted to make the Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent Security Officers, in addition to their other duties.
Superintendent Bruce Hanks, principal at Dove Creek Elementary School, and Assistant Superintendant Ty Gray, principal of the high school and middle school as well as the athletic director have been given the authority to carry firearms in school. The district is so small they can't afford to hire a separate security firm.
While the move bypassed Colorado state law, which allows the school districts to hire armed security people, the Dove Creek and Delores County School Board said it was budgetary considerations, as well as the forty minute distance the police department was from the schools that determined the final decision on the issue.
The Clarksville, Arkansas School District had made plans to arm 20 teachers with 9mm handguns, but a few days ago, the state Attorney General, Dustin McDaniel issued an opinion that said state codes don't 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."
McDaniel further said that if the state legislature wanted to change state laws, then it would be a different story. Until then, schools will have to hire security firms.
One of the big objections to arming teachers is that under a stressful situation where someone comes into the school or a classroom planning on harming students,the teacher could accidentally shoot a student in the confusion of the moment. Another problem that needs to be addressed is the insurance issue, particularly where it would apply to teachers carrying weapons in a classroom full of children.
Note: The video accompanying this story is about the Clarksville, Arkansas school that was reportedly arming 20 teachers. It was released before the state attorney general determined the school could not allow teachers to carry guns on school property.