Agence France-Presse

Arkansas teachers to carry concealed handguns this fall

Connecticut State Police walk near the scene of an elementary school shooting on December 14, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut. According to reports, there are more than 20 dead, most children, after a gunman opened fire in at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. The shooter was also killed.


Douglas Healy

Using laws that allow armed security guards in schools, teachers at one Arkansas high school are undergoing training this summer that will allow them to carry concealed handguns when classes resume.

Clarksville High School is first in the state to resort to such extremes following the Sandy Hook shooting last December in Newtown, Conn., the Associated Press reported.

"The plan we've been given in the past is, 'Well, lock your doors, turn off your lights and hope for the best,'" school superintendent David Hopkins told the AP. "That's not a plan."

The school is putting 20 teachers, volunteers and staff through training from a private security company that will make them licensed guards.

The volunteers are to receive $1,100 to buy a 9-mm Walther PPS and holster, while the school is shelling out $50,000 in training, according to the Arkansas Times.

Their 53 hours is five times the state requirement for security guards, the newspaper said.

Clarksville, a city of about 9,200 northwest of Little Rock, is the first school to arm teachers. Another school in the state keeps guns locked up in case of emergency.

State officials won't stop the training, although one told the AP the preference is to use law enforcement officers as resources.

Hopkins told KARK television that every instant matters when it comes to protecting their children.

"They're not gonna be in a uniform, and they're not gonna be wagging their gun on their side," he told the TV station.

"We're going to be very discrete about it, but yet we're going to be trained professionals, and we're going to be able to provide security for our kids in a matter of seconds instead of minutes."

There has been vocal opposition to the plan, with critics worried students could steal guns or get hurt by accidental shootings, the AP said.

"We just think educators should be in the business of educating students, not carrying a weapon," said Donna Morey, a former president of the Arkansas Education Association.

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Tagged: United States.