Aug 18, 2022 - News

Arkansas School Safety Commission OKs several recommendations

Gov. Asa Hutchinson addresses a group gathered for a school safety roundtable in July 2018. Photo: courtesy Arkansas Governor's office.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson addresses a group gathered for a school safety roundtable in July 2018. Photo courtesy of Arkansas governor's office

The state's School Safety Commission unanimously approved several recommendations from its five subcommittees this week, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports.

Driving the news: Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed a bill last week earmarking $50 million of the state's $1.6 billion revenue surplus for a school safety grant program.

  • The Department of Education will develop rules for grant applications using the commission's final decisions as guidelines.

Details: The commission's five subcommittees focus on mental health, law enforcement and security, physical security, intelligence and communication, and audits, emergency operations plans and drills.

Select recommendations the committees made for each school district include:

  • Install an armed presence in each building on campus.
  • Campuses allow security cameras to be accessed during critical incidents.
  • All exterior and classroom doors must be locked during school hours.
  • All school staff who regularly interact with students are required to take a free mental health awareness class if they haven't received alternative training.
  • Behavioral assessment teams must undergo training from the Arkansas Center of School Safety to identify and assist an at-risk student.

What's next: The final commission report is due in October.

  • It's unclear when the grant program will begin distributing money.
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