Speaking of armed security in K-12 schools, KATV reported over the weekend that Bauxite Public Schools will soon have armed staffers in addition to its one police officer. No teachers will be armed.
In 2015, the Arkansas legislature authorized the use of Commissioned School Security Officers (CSSO) by schools. CSSOs have to complete 60 hours of training developed by the Arkansas State Police, followed by 24 hours each year to maintain their authorization to serve as armed security on campus, and must pass a standard background check.
Private security guards hired by the school can become CSSOs, but the law also allows non-security school staffers to do so, including teachers.
The CSSOs are set to begin in carrying weapons in Bauxite Public Schools in January. The district would not disclose the number of CSSOs or who they were. Officials said that no teachers will be armed, but a few non-instructional staff members will act as CSSOs on campus.
Tyler Broyles, the district’s chief of legal affairs with Bauxite Public Schools, told KATV:
The team of people in our district came together and basically asked people to volunteer, if they felt comfortable doing it, so no one who went through the training was asked to do it under pressure. …
Anyone who had, say, never held a gun before (if that were the case) has now been trained in carrying a weapon. …
I think it is more settling to know that anyone carrying a weapon is not around students, because I know there is some concern as far as students seeing it or being attracted to it, so it’s the best practice that only non-instructional staff carry it to avoid that interaction with students.