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Guns and gun violence in schools have been intense topics of discussion for many years now. Since the shootings in Connecticut in December, 2012, some politicians and school districts have begun to entertain the idea of arming teachers and other staff within their schools. Last week, the administration of Clarksville High School in Clarksville, Arkansas announced it would be arming 20 of its teachers and administrators. Though it has never been used, according to the Arkansas Department of Education, there is a state law that permits teachers to be armed at school. Clarksville High School, located in a town of about 9,000 people north of Little Rock, is taking advantage of this obscure law. Though the Arkansas Commissioner of Education is opposed to the idea, the department is not blocking the school's plans. The school administration insists it is not using otherwise needed funds; it is instead taking advantage of teachers already licensed to carry guns. But it will cost the district:
Participants in the program are given a one-time $1,100 stipend to purchase a handgun and holster. Hopkins said the district is paying about $50,000 for ammunition and for training by Nighthawk Custom Training Academy, a private training facility in northwest Arkansas.
There are dissenters in the community who believe it is unsafe to have weapons around the students in the school, and that security is better handled by police officers. So far, the teachers participating believe it is a safe plan for the school. The teachers who have been training and licensed will begin keeping weapons at school starting this fall.
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