Asa Hutchinson discusses school safety recommendations at an NRA press conference Tuesday. (Photo: Getty Images)
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Former Arkansas Congressman Asa Hutchinson, Director of the National School Shield Initiative, shared more about a plan to bolster school security on Wednesday in Little Rock.
The "model training program" would include a background check for school staffers who want to carry a firearm as well as 40-60 hours in training, Hutchinson said during a press conference at the National Press Club on Tuesday.
The report acknowledged many schools were unable to afford adding school resource officers (SROs) to their staff, which they cite as an "important layer of security for prevention and response in case of an active threat on a school campus."
"Local school leadership should make the final decision whenever it comes to what fits the individual school best," said Hutchinson.
The NRA commissioned the former Arkansas Congressman to find solutions to what appears to be a vulnerable education system.
"Teachers should be teaching in the classrooms and not worried about security and protection," said Hutchinson.
Hutchinson, along with other experts, put together a comprehensive study to find solutions. Their recommendations include a framework for weapon training, raising state safety requirements, and possibly arming specified school staff in case a school resource officer is not available.
"I have never pull that firearm, but I have access to it," says Lake Hamilton Superintendent, Steve Anderson.
Budget constraints limit Anderson from hiring school resource officers so he carries a weapon from time to time.
"There's been five times in 12 years that I've put a sidearm on during the school day, two of those days were after Sandy Hook," says Anderson.
Anderson completed a training course through Arkansas State Police and carries a commissioned security officer license.
Hutchinson says rural districts must evaluate their schools. And Soon, the National School Shield, will run an online self assessment tool for districts to answer needed security questions.
"What is your school's policy for confronting a visitor that is on the campus without authorization? Does everyone know that policy? Is there a perimeter fence? Is there one access point in the school or are there multiple access points at the school and how are they monitored," says Hutchinson.
For Anderson, this discussion goes beyond democrat and republican or liberal and conservative.
"We're willing to do whatever it takes to take care of our kids," says Anderson.