News & Politics

Arkansas High School Arming Teachers With Guns

20 teachers, administrators and staff are using an Arkansas law to arm themselves while working at Clarksville High School.

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A high school in Arkansas has decided that the best way to confront gun violence is to arm teachers and administrators with guns. The Associated Press reports that 20 teachers, administrators and staff are using an Arkansas law in order to arm themselves while working at Clarksville High School--the first time a school district in the state has armed teachers.

The law in Arkansas allows licensed, armed guards in schools. After going through over 50 hours of training, teachers and administrators will be considered guards.

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

The impetus for the arming of teachers was the massacre at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut last year. The National Rifle Association has led the battle cry for armed teachers in schools.

State officials are not blocking the plan, though some are not happy about it.

Here’s how the program works: teachers are given a stipend of $1,100 to purchase a handgun and holster. The district is paying $50,000 for training and ammunition at a gun academy. The academy holds trainings that simulate school shootings. Teachers shoot “airsoft” pellet guns while students wear facemasks and jackets.

“There's pressure on you, because you're shooting real bullets if this actually happened,”  explained Cheyne Dougan, the assistant principal at the school who will start carrying a 9mm gun while on the job. “I was nervous to start, but once it started and I was going through what they had taught us, it just took over."


Alex Kane is former World editor at AlterNet. His work has appeared in Mondoweiss, Salon, VICE, the Los Angeles Review of Books and more. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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