With school safety back in the national spotlight, the South Pike County School District will address the issue in part by training and arming staff members on both the high school and elementary campuses.
Last week, SPCSD board members approved a recommendation by Superintendent Tanya Wilcher to provide $500 stipends for staffers interested in becoming armed Certified School Safety Officers.
Wilcher said, so far, seven staff members have expressed interest in becoming a CSSO, which will involve 60 hours of extensive training.
Wilcher said the plan is for the staffers to use their $500 stipend to all purchase the exact same firearm plus the hollow-point ammunition. The school district will pay for the more than 2,000 rounds of practice ammunition needed to certified with the firearms as well as identical coded local boxes to house the weapons on campus.
Wilcher said the name of the CSSO staffers will not be released to increase the effectiveness of the program but told board members that she plans to be one of the CSSO.
This won’t be the district’s first time to arm staff. Under the administration of Roger Featherston in 2018 and at a time when school security was a national topic, the school trained and armed eight unnamed staffers.
Last week, Governor Asa Hutchinson reinstated the Arkansas School Safety Commission and set aside $50 million to address recommended safety plans of school districts throughout the state.
Wilcher said the money set aside by the state could be used to implement more safety procedures on campus.