Ark. lawmakers, teachers discuss making schools safer

The biggest concern from teachers is students not receiving the mental health support needed.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - What can be done to keep your students safe at school?

It's a discussion people across the country are having. Arming teachers, bullet proof doors, focusing on mental health are all proposals by State Senator Trent Garner (R).

"We’re seeing an increase in teachers calling us concerned about students who have behavior issues in the classroom," said Michele Linch, Executive Director of the Arkansas State Teachers Association.

Loading ...

The biggest concern she hears from teachers is students not receiving the mental health support needed.

"We want all children to be where they can be best served and grow and learn and, in some cases, children with mental health issues, heal,” said Linch.

"If we could just identify and put these kids in a program or get them some help,” said Garner who created what he calls a “Safe Plan” focusing on school security, advancing the right to carry, fixing the mental health system, and enforcing laws. “I decided it was time to take action."

He's looking at possible metal detectors at schools and bullet proof doors.

"They have automatic locking doors, they also have devices you can barricade on the doors," said Garner.

Linch hears from teachers who want to be part of the conversation.

“They don’t feel like administration is responsive so they come to me and say ‘I don’t feel safe’," said Linch. “They’re willing to speak out and help in any way they can find a solution."

Garner plans to narrow his plans down to specific policies over the next few weeks. He wants to speak with law enforcement and teachers to create laws for general session 2019.