LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA/FOX24) — Gov. Asa Hutchinson has accepted the final report from the Arkansas School Safety Commission. The commission submitted the final report on October 1.
He also sent a letter to the state legislature asking for its support of the recommendations.
Some of the suggestions would mean action from the legislature. Hutchinson allocated $50 million in state grants to help fund the recommendations, but some will require recurring funding.
He also mentioned how some of Arkansas’ codes will have to be changed by the legislature, including one which involves locking doors during school hours.
Dr. Cheryl May is the Director of the Criminal Justice Institute at the University of Arkansas. She has also acted as the chair of the School Safety Commission both times it has convened.
She said the goals of the report are lofty, but they are necessary to keep Arkansas students safe.
“We understand that we’re asking them to do a lot, but we also understand that we don’t ever, ever want to have an event like Sandy Hook or Uvalde or Santa Fe,” she said. “We don’t need another event like that in Arkansas.”
She said the report addresses physical security upgrades at the schools, which include cameras and door locks. It also includes mental health, an anonymous reporting tip line, cybersecurity, school resource officers and the involvement of law enforcement.
The 2023 Arkansas legislative session will start on January 9.
You can read Hutchinson’s letter to the legislature and the full Arkansas School Safety Commission final report above.