Ark. schools can have armed teachers, state board rules

Lauren Williams's picture
Thursday, September 12, 2013

A state board voted Wednesday to allow 13 school districts in Arkansas to continue using teachers, administrators and other staff as armed guards, despite a warning from the state's top attorney that the licensing law they relied upon was intended for private businesses.

After initially voting to revoke two districts' licenses classifying them as private security firms, the Arkansas Board of Private Investigators and Private Security Agencies decided to allow the schools to keep them for two more years. The panel had voted to suspend the schools' licenses last month after Attorney General Dustin McDaniel said they shouldn't have been issued to the schools.

Board members said the two-year reprieve would give the Legislature a chance to look at ways schools could employ their own staff as armed guards. The panel said it won't accept any new applications from school districts.

In an advisory opinion last month, McDaniel said the licensing law the schools had relied on was intended for private security companies. State law prohibits guns on campus, but an exception is included for licensed security guards.

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