A group of more than 20 volunteer teachers and staff in the small school district of Clarksville, Arkansas will be trained to carry a firearm for this coming school year.
Using a little-known state law allowing trained armed guards at schools, the Clarksville school district has provided 53 hours of training to interested teachers and school staff as well as a one-time stipend of $1,100 to purchase a hand gun to participants. After the training, the volunteers will be considered armed guards. The identities of the trained teachers will be kept secret, and the guns will be concealed at all times.
Clarksville Superintendent David Hopkins told reporters the decision came in response to the shooting in Newtown, CT that killed over 20 children. "The plan we've been given in the past is 'Well, lock your doors, turn off your lights and hope for the best,'" he said. "That's not a plan." He explained that using the volunteers as security guards stopped the school from "tying our money up in a guard 24/7 that we won't have to have unless something happens." He added, "Hopefully we'll never have to use them as a security guard." Education Commissioner Tom Kimbrell opposes the idea, and would prefer to hire trained law enforcement officials as school resources officers instead. However, state officials have not interceded in the school district's plan.
Other education leaders are not as enthusiastic about the new plan. Former president of the Arkansas Education Association, Donna Morey, said that the plan only increased the chance that a teacher could shoot a student accidentally or that a student could come to obtain a gun while on school premises. "We just think educators should be in the business of educating students, not carrying a weapon," she said.
Media Resources: Associated Press 7/30/2013; Christian Science Monitor 7/30/2013; USA Today 7/30/2013; Feminist Newswire 1/15/2013, 12/21/2012, 12/17/2012
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .