The Clarksville School District in western Arkansas has met another obstacle in it’s path toward arming 20 school teachers within the district. According to the Log Cabin Democrat, state Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has issued an opinion stating that the district should disclose the names of the teachers who took part in a 53 hour training course that focused solely on protecting students and staff members in the even of a school shooting.
McDaniel wrote “In my opinion, though the privacy interest is weighty, the public’s interest is at least as weighty, which means that the record must be disclosed.”
McDaniel released the statement after a local news station in Northwest Arkansas was denied their request for the names of the program’s participants.
In response to the AG’s opinion, school superintendent David Hopkins states that he hopes to meet with McDaniel in an effort to negotiate the issue. Hopkins expresses concerns over the personal safety of the individuals who will be armed, specifically that they will be targeted should their names be released to the public.
In an interview with Fox.com, Hopkins defended the district’s Emergency Response Training program, saying that considering the specific needs of that particular district, this seemed to be a viable plan to implement. He went on to explain that the district’s budget is limited and that this seemed to be the best plan from a fiscal standpoint as well.
The 20 teachers who volunteered to be on the ERT were given $1,100 a piece to purchase a gun and holster. According to Hopkins, the training they received was just as rigorous as what they would have received at the Police Academy. Additionally, they were subjected to stringent psychological testing to insure they were of sound mind.
The Clarksville ERT was organized in response to the Sandy Hook shooting in December 2012, a horrific event that has reignited the gun debate across the nation.