NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — Springdale and Rogers Public Schools’ are re-upping security at their campuses ahead of the start of the school year.
Assistant Superintendent at Rogers Public Schools Charles Lee said convenience is the enemy of security.
“When you look at propping open doors and leaving doors unlocked, it’s so much more convenient to do that, but we can’t be convenient anymore,” Lee said. “We have to be a little bit more focused.”
Lee said each school has a safety coordinator.
“I will be meeting with them at least twice a year, maybe more, but at least twice a year to discuss safety concerns and protocols within their building and just to keep that level heightened,” Lee said.
Lee said the district is thoroughly reviewing the Arkansas School Safety Commission’s report, specifically the recommendation for an armed presence at each school.
“We’re gonna do everything we can to try to make sure that our kids are safe but we’ll continue to study the Safety Commission recommendations,” Lee said.
However, Lee said it will be challenging to hire more armed officers for each school. The district usually has 6 school resource officers, but one of those positions is open right now.
“If you look at every campus, you’re looking at for us, it would be another 19 additional armed presence, so that comes with a price tag, so we have to make sure that we have the resources available to do that,” Lee said.
In Springdale, Director of Communications Trent Jones said the district is considering adding Certified School Safety Officers (CSSOs) at elementary schools, which would be armed. Jones said Springdale currently has 21 school resource officers.
“Those would be like security guards that we might be able to put at our elementary schools, so the idea is we would have CSSOs at our elementary schools and SROs at middle, junior and high school levels,” Jones said.
Jones said district leaders plan to bring the CSSO program idea to the school board in the coming weeks.