A school in Arkansas wants any potential shooters to know: Its teachers are armed, and ready for a showdown.
Since the Arkansas Christian Academy is a private school, it is not subject to the rules for public schools in the state that prevent teachers from carrying firearms. To that end, the school has between one and seven staff members carrying a weapon on any given day, according to Pastor Perry Black, who this week posted signs that say “Staff is armed and trained. Any attempt to harm children will be met with deadly force.”
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Black also professed to having armed guards outside of his Sunday church services. “We reserve our right as American citizens and as Christians to protect the children on our campus,” Black told KARK.
The practice of arming teachers has come into sharp relief since the horrific shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, last December. In the eight months since the shooting, schools around the country have moved to encourage or require teachers (and sometimes students) to carry firearms. Another in Arkansas decided last month it would allow 20 teachers to carry firearms in school (although the state’s attorney general tossed cold water on this plan), and an ‘Armed Teacher Training Program‘ has swept the country, with the aim of teaching teachers how to carefully use weapons in the classroom.
But serious questions persist about the wisdom of arming teachers. Even trained police have a track record of mistakenly firing on civilians in standoff situations, raising concerns about whether a teacher in a roomful of children could be any more equipped to deal with a crazed gunman. What’s more, it might not be in the interest of a school to let its staff carry deadly weapons; in Kansas, a school that armed its teachers was denied coverage by major insurers, who deemed the armed teachers too great of a risk.