The 10th annual Arkansas Safe Schools Conference is underway in North Little Rock presenting law enforcement and education officials with information to improve safety.
The conference had a few hands-on tools including a firearms training system allowing participants to virtually go through a school shooting as a police officer. Charles Ellis with Camden’s Law Enforcement Training Academy walked officers through the training.
He says some educators are also taking interest.
“We’ve had quite a few school officials who have participated. Everyone has shot exceptionally well,” said Ellis.
During the last year legislators have weighed allowing teachers and staff to be armed in school. Legislation is likely to be presented in the 2015 session.
Robbie and Alyssa Parker, parents of a child who died in the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, gave a keynote presentation Tuesday focused on simple changes that schools can make to prepare and to present obstacles to any would-be shooter. Parker singled out changing the locks at Sandy Hook as something that could have bought valuable time.
“You had to go out into the hallway, you had to insert your key lock the door, and then go back inside of the classroom and shut it. That was the only way to keep the door locked, from the outside. So, our teachers in this front hallway hearing all that commotion, there’s no way they’re going to go out in the hallway,” said Parker.
Parker argued preparing in advance for active shooting scenarios is the best defense and way to mitigate damage if a shooting does occur. They contend police response times are minimal and it’s up to schools to find ways to delay a shooter until professionals can arrive.