Arkansas School Safety Commission Releases Latest Report
The Arkansas School Safety Commission updated its 2018 safety report and provided recommendations for school districts.
ARKANSAS, USA — With the start of the school year fast approaching, this is front and center for lawmakers in Arkansas. The Arkansas School Safety Commission made some recommendations and delivered them to Governor Asa Hutchinson today.
The 24-member commission outlined several key strategies to keep Arkansas schools safe.
“There is no one thing a school can do to make this school safe, it has to be a combination of many things,” said Dr. Cheryl May, chairwoman of the Arkansas School Safety Commission. .
This combination includes expanding youth mental health training, creating behavioral threat assessment teams, and ensuring a culture of compliance in schools. Dr May says not having an overlay of safety or liability measures has been a downfall in recent tragic events.
“It was very clear that Robb Elementary School had a culture of non-compliance. We cannot allow this to happen in our schools for accountability to be so important,” she said.
The commission also recommended a $50 million school safety grant that will be discussed at next week’s special session.
“The intent is that this could be used for security access upgrades, you know, cameras or specific recommendations that come out of the School Safety Commission report,” Governor Hutchinson said.
Other major recommendations include requiring an armed presence on every school campus at all times. They also recommend changing state law to ensure all doors and windows are locked during school hours. Many of these recommendations may require legislation, so they will be working with lawmakers over the coming months.
“To ensure that we are vigilant on an ongoing basis to ensure Arkansas schools are as safe as possible for our students,” said Johnny Key, Secretary of the Arkansas Department of Education.
Hutchinson expects changes to security measures like electronic access controls to improve over the next few months, but any further changes to the legislature will happen as early as January next year. The final report will be published in October.
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