Fri, Jun 10, 2022 5:54 PM
By Kim Jarrett, The Center Square
Gov. Asa Hutchinson issued an executive order Friday reinstating the state's School Safety Commission.
"The recent violence in Texas was a stark reminder that the work of securing our schools is never done," Hutchinson said in a news release. "That is why I am calling the Arkansas School Safety Commission back into service. Members of the commission, which I created in 2018, submitted thirty significant recommendations in their original 124-page report. School districts around the state have implemented many of the recommendations."
Hutchinson said last week he is considering a special session to discuss using surplus funds for school safety. Some of the safety measures he mentioned are armed security and increased school counseling.
The Arkansas House of Representatives said in a news release on Friday it is reviewing recommendations made this week to the House and Senate Education Committees by Dr. Cheryl May, director of the Criminal Justice Institute for the University of Arkansas System and chair of the commission. May recommended additional security measures, including an anonymous reporting system and enhanced security.
The commission holds its first meeting Tuesday. Other members include the attorney general's office representatives, the Arkansas Division of Emergency Management, the Arkansas Department of Education, and the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy. Also on the commission are a county sheriff, public school teacher, public school counselor and a retired FBI agent.
Its first task will be to review a 2018 report recommending 30 school safety measures and do an updated analysis, according to the news release. The commission will file its initial report with the governor on Aug. 1.
"But it is crucial that we constantly assess the security of our schools and keep abreast of the best ways to ensure our children and educators are safe," Hutchinson said. "The original commission built a solid foundation on which to continue this vital work."