Tuesday, August 06, 2013

AR:Teachers May Carry in Clarksville

The schools were already granted licenses to arm their employees.

Dr. David Hopkins, superintendent of the Clarksville School District, called today to say that after further study he's convinced Attorney General Dustin McDaniel's opinion on arming of school district staff members is wrong and Clarksville will challenge that interpretation if a state regulatory agency sides with McDaniel.

An official opinion by McDaniel this week said public schools didn't qualify, as private businesses did, to be licensed to employ their own staff as armed security, if properly trained. Clarksville, and several other districts, have received licenses for this purpose. The issue came to a head on news that Clarksville had trained 20 or more staff members to be armed. It paid each a $1,000 stipend to purchase semi-automatic pistols to carry in concealment as added security in the 2,400-student district.

Friday, Hopkins had said he would "stand down" on armed staff and respected McDaniel's opinion. But he said he'd had time to study it further and also confer with the district's private attorney, Jay Bequette of Little Rock. Now, he says he believes that McDaniel's opinion came out of "left field."

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