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Columbine. Jonesboro. Virginia Tech. Sandy Hook.
As much as we hope and pray our kids will be safe as they head back to school, tragedies like these are hard to erase from a parent’s mind.
And now the Associated Press reports 20-plus administrators, teachers and other staff in Clarksville, Ark., population 9,200, will carry concealed weapons at school, essentially serving as armed guards.
"The plan we've been given in the past is 'Well, lock your doors, turn off your lights and hope for the best,'" Superintendent David Hopkins tells the news service. “That's not a plan."
Hopkins tells the AP the school district will spend around $50,000 for ammo and training, and those carrying the weapons (which will reportedly be kept secret) will be given $1,100 to buy a handgun and holster.
The NRA called for teachers to be armed following the horrifying shooting that left 20 children and six teachers dead at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., last December. An Arkansas law permits armed security guards on school campuses, according to the AP, although this is a first in the state and school district, which, the news service adds, is not considered to be a dangerous one.
Arkansas Education Association past president Donna Morey tells the wire service the decision is “awful,” noting the possibility of accidental shootings or students getting their hands on guns as serious issues.
"We just think educators should be in the business of educating students, not carrying a weapon," she tells the AP.
Hopefully? Don’t teachers and staff have enough to worry about, without the added burden of having to potentially shoot someone. In their classroom? Look, I don’t like the idea of guns in schools, period. But if you’re going to go there, isn’t that something that should rest the shoulders of actual security guards or law enforcement officers? Do I want my child spending hours in a room where there’s a 9mm locked away in her teacher’s desk drawer? I have one word for Hopson and the Clarksville school district: Fail.
What grade would you give them?