Ark. Lawmakers Hear from Sandy Hook Parents on Campus Safety

LITTLE ROCK, AR - An Arkansas lawmaker says legislation requiring classrooms to lock from the inside could be filed for the legislative session next year.

State Rep. Sue Scott (R-Rogers) made the comments after hearing testimony Tuesday from parents who lost their daughter in the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting.

"We don't need to ask how much is this going to cost, we just need to do it," Scott says. "These are our children."

Alissa and Robbie Parker are co-founders of Safe and Sound, an online resource providing parents, administrators and first-responders with information to improve security on school campuses.

The creators of Safe and Sound are all families directly affected by the tragedy in Newtown, CT on December 14, 2012.

Alissa and Robbie Parker lost their oldest daughter, Emilie, along with 19 other students and six adults in the shooting.

Alissa Parker says after months of trying to sort out exactly what happened that morning, she's learned more than she ever imagined about school security.

"It was realizing that I did see things I didn't say, that if I would've, could it have made a difference?"

Parker says two relatively low-cost safety improvements include shatter proof glass on windows and classroom doors that can lock from the inside.

"It wasn't a million dollar security system we wish we had," Parker says. "We wish we would have been able to lock our doors. We wish we would have had a barrier to prevent someone from having access to children."

Scott says she will look closely at the possibility of filing legislation to make the classroom door lock option a reality.

"Both parents talked about putting locks on those doors," Scott says. "My gosh, to save even one child, we have to come up with the money to make these fixes."

Arkansas State Fire Marshal Lindsey Williams says there is no data to indicate how many schools in the state have doors locking from the inside but he speculated "most do not."

Bill Sadler with Arkansas State Police says there are already mechanisms in place to address safety and security considerations.

"Safety from fire and security from an intruder, there's a balance there that can be achieved," Sadler says.

Williams added it would likely include a deadbolt that could be unlocked in one motion, making it possible for small children to open it in case of an emergency.

"If legislation occurs, we're obviously hopeful that things can change, our motivation is to inform schools and help them with their journey," Alissa Parker says.

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