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    Clarksville schools make national headlines after arming teachers

    6:22 PM, Jul 30, 2013   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV/AP) - An AP report detailing the Clarksville School District's plan to arm 20 teachers and staff this year put the small rural district in the national spotlight.

    Superintendent Dr. David Hopkins told THV his office was flooded with phone calls Tuesday morning from national media outlets looking for an interview. The new plan provides firearms for more than 20 teachers and staff members for the upcoming school year.

    "I have had some negative feedback. I knew that we would, but as far as how they compare, we are getting much more positives than we are negative," said the superintendent. "I think as long as we can weather the media storm, come October, it's gonna be smooth sailing."

    Hopkins set up an interview with CNN for Tuesday. He's planning on speaking with CNN's Piers Morgan as well.

    Education officials in Little Rock have serious questions regarding Clarksville's plan. Arkansas School Boards Association Attorney Kristen Gould believes there could be some issues if police respond to a school shooting crisis.

    "There could be some really tragic and unintended consequences that the good guy could be the guy that's taken out," she told THV.

    The school is making use of a little-known Arkansas law that allows licensed, armed security guards on campus. Teachers, administrator and staff underwent 53 hours of training, and will be considered guards.

    Clarksville, a community of 9,200 people about 100 miles northwest of Little Rock, isn't known for having dangerous schools. But Superintendent David Hopkins said he faced a flood of calls from parents worried about safety after the attack last year at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.

    State officials aren't blocking Clarksville's plan, but Arkansas Education Commissioner Tom Kimbrell is opposed to the idea of arming teachers and staff. He prefers to hire law enforcement officers.

    (The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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