Faulkner County Sheriff Andy Shock is set to discuss his plan for arming administrators with the Mt. Vernon-Enola School Board on Thursday night.
Shock has said his proposed plan would allow an avenue to arm administrators if the individual school district agrees on the plan.
Shock has discussed the idea with several school districts in Faulkner County. A recent Log Cabin Democrat article reported that numerous county school districts have discussed the possibility of implementing Shock’s plan, although no decisions have been made. The Greenbrier School District was the only county district to confirm the sheriff’s plan was not being considered.
“When meeting with administrators, I stressed I’m not trying to make them do this,” he said in a recent interview with the Log Cabin Democrat. “I’m not pressuring them. This is just an option.
“I’m all about local decision-making,” he said. “I told the administrators that if your school board can get with its constituents and everyone wants to go this way, I’m going to do all I can to make it happen.”
The proposed plan would put administrators through the same 110-hour certified law enforcement training that volunteer reserve deputies are required to complete, Shock said.
Shock, who took office in January, said he has heard mostly positive things about his plan, but has also heard criticism that implicates his plan would loosely place weapons into the hands of school administrators, which Shock said is false.
“Each administrator that is put through our training will not necessarily finish and be allowed to carry,” he said. “They will be interviewed, and if during the training we think they don’t have what it takes, we reserve the right to pull them out of the training.”
Questions of the likelihood administrators who complete the training would be required to complete hours with the sheriff’s office, or whether or not the administrators would be required to wear a badge while on school grounds are some of the concerns Shock has been made aware of. The sheriff indicated those would be issues that would have to be dealt with as talks became more serious.
Mt. Vernon-Enola superintendent Larry Walters said, in a recent article by the Log Cabin Democrat, the school board will hear from Shock to help decide if the sheriff’s plan is right for the school district.
“Anytime you have a program that could improve school safety, you have to listen to it,” Walters said.
The Mt. Vernon-Enola School District currently has one part-time School Resource Officer that is provided by the sheriff’s office, which is 25 miles from the school district.
Being so far away from law enforcement, and having only one part-time SRO are some of the reasons Walters says the sheriff’s plan is being considered, although no final decisions have been made.
“It’s something we’ll have to talk about and approach slowly,” he said.
The school board meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. at the high school, located at 38 Garland Springs Road.
(Staff writer Lee Hogan can be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at 505-1246. Follow Lee Hogan on Twitter at https://twitter.com/LCD_LeeHogan. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)