DeVos, Sessions to talk school safety next week at Lake Hamilton | Arkansas Blog

Friday, July 27, 2018

DeVos, Sessions to talk school safety next week at Lake Hamilton

Posted By on Fri, Jul 27, 2018 at 11:31 AM

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Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Attorney General Jeff Sessions will visit the Lake Hamilton School District in Garland County next Wednesday to talk about school safety.

Assistant Superintendent Shawn Higginbotham said the officials had reached out to visit the district because of school's  security efforts. He said U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman was a friend of Superintendent Steve Anderson and that likely led to the contact.

Higginbotham said the school, which is in a rural area some minutes removed from emergency responders, had employed trained security officers who carry weapons for 25 years. It currently has two such officers, one a former law officer, and also is adding a Garland County law enforcement resource officer this school year. He said a number of district staff members have also availed themselves of the relatively new state law that allows school staff to carry concealed weapons on campus after security officer training. None of them is a teacher, he said.

Anderson, who was unavailable, is arranging the event, which includes a roundtable discussion at 3 p.m.

Lake Hamilton used armed staff with security training for years before the law was changed to allow and got up briefly in controversy at the private security guard licensing agency that arose over a handful of districts that were doing so. That led to a law change that cleared the practice. Anderson said at the time the system had worked without a problem.

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