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
7/27/2015 Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Blocked Efforts to Defund Planned Parenthood - An attempt in the Senate to defund Planned Parenthood by Mike Lee (R-UT) was blocked this weekend by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Lee tried to attach the elimination of federal funds for Planned Parenthood to a vote for highway legislation, a move which was rejected by McConnell as out of order.
Republican legislators have redoubled their efforts to block funding for Planned Parenthood since the release of two heavily edited clandestine videos of different PPFA employees taken without their knowledge. . . .
7/24/2015 Katherine Spillar Urges Cleveland to Dramatically Increase Hiring of Women Police to Mitigate Police Violence - In a well-received speech at the City Club of Cleveland today, Katherine Spillar, Executive Director of the Feminist Majority Foundation urged Cleveland city officials to dramatically increase the hiring of women police officers as a way to decrease police brutality incidents.
Following a number of high profile police killings in Cleveland of African Americans, and an eight-month investigation by the US Attorney's office of the Northern District of Ohio, the City of Cleveland has now entered into a Consent Decree that requires numerous reforms in how the city oversees and investigates police operations, including training in use of force.
"Among the most important reforms mandated by the consent decree - and the most easily overlooked - are the changes the Cleveland Division of Police must make in its recruitment and hiring practices,
said Spillar. . . .