With the increased concern about school safety in the wake of recent events around the nation, Governor Asa Hutchinson announced Thursday that he has issued an executive order that creates the Arkansas School Safety Commission.
LITTLE ROCK – With the increased concern about school safety in the wake of recent events around the nation, Governor Asa Hutchinson announced today that he has issued an executive order that creates the Arkansas School Safety Commission. The Governor has also committed $300,000 to the Criminal Justice Institute (CJI) for additional training for school resource officers and security assessments for schools.
“The physical safety of our students is a nonnegotiable responsibility and demands the immediate attention of professionals in education, law enforcement, security, and mental health,” Hutchinson said. “This commission will report back to me with a comprehensive assessment of school security and recommendations for shoring up any gaps in security.
“Through research, interviews and school visits, the members of this commission will lead a statewide review and study that will guide us to establish and implement additional safeguards to protect Arkansas students from violence.”
The commissioners will evaluate school designs, safety and security policies, emergency plans and policies, school counseling, and mental health issues. They will evaluate school-security data, including issues such as single-point entry, electronic access badges, and school resource officers.
The School Safety Commission’s initial report is due to Hutchinson on July 1, 2018.
The commission will include a representative from the Arkansas Attorney General’s office, the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM), the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE), and the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy (ALETA).
The commission also will include the director of the CJI, a county sheriff, a public school superintendent, a public school teacher, a public school counselor, a retired federal employ with law-enforcement experience, and a mental-health professional.
Initial members of the commission are as follows:
Dr. Cheryl May, Director, Criminal Justice Institute (CJI), University of Arkansas System; Bill Temple, Retired Special Agent, Federal Bureau of Investigation; John “Don” Kaminar, Special Projects and School Safety Manager, Arkansas Department of Education (ADE); Brad Montgomery, Director of Public School Academic Facilities, Arkansas Department of Education; A.J. Gary, Director, Arkansas Department of Emergency Management; Sheriff Tim Helder, Washington County Sheriff; Jami Cook, Director, Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy; Will Jones, Deputy Attorney General, Special Investigations Unit, Office of the Attorney General; David Hopkins, Superintendent, Clarksville School District; Dawn Anderson, High School Counselor, Hot Springs High School; John Allison, Teacher, Vilonia High School
Hutchinson will appoint a mental health professional in the coming days, prior to the start of the commission’s work. Additional appointees from the different geographic regions of Arkansas may be appointed to the commission as appropriate.