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This academic year, the Atkins School District is arming some staff members



Atkins, Arkansas – The Atkins School District has a new security precaution, and it rests on the teacher members’ hips, since the new academic year is already fully underway.

“I think as a teacher, you know, your main goal is to make sure your kids are safe,” Austin Dobbs, a middle school teacher at the district, said. “You wanna keep kids safe, and this is just another added layer of protection for our kids.”

This academic year, 14 staff employees will be carrying firearms on their person. Before they were chosen, those employees completed many rounds of interviews and more than 60 hours of training, according to the district administration.

The 14 were given weapons, holsters, and ammunition by the district.

“I was almost relieved, just because, if they were willing to take that responsibility, and if they were trained properly,” Hope Spence, a parent with kids in the Atkins School District, said. “I knew that that was just an extra blanket of security for my kids.”

Nobody, outside those 14 staff employees and officials of the administration, knows who is carrying. Even while this increased protection has its own set of concerns, according to Spence, it does exist.

“If it was one of their own students coming in, I mean, that’s a huge responsibility to have to choose,” she said.

Moms Demand Action’s Greater Little Rock chapter member Anna Morshedi discussed why she concurs with those hazards.

“It should not fall to them as their responsibility to make that life or death situation of whether to pull a gun at a current or former student,” Morshedi described.

She acknowledges the desire for greater security in schools, but thinks there are other places where this may be accomplished.

“How to properly store their firearms separate from their ammunition, locked up, is one way to make sure that people don’t get access to the gun in the first place,” Morshedi explained.

Although it is hoped that these weapons will never be needed, they are still available.

“Having the teachers here, it puts peace in my mind to know that there is help,” Spence said.


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