Hutchinson talks National School Shield Task Force in Paragould

PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT)- Former Arkansas Congressman Asa Hutchinson addressed the Paragould Rotary Club Wednesday regarding his National School Shield Task Force plan after the tragedy at Newtown Elementary School.

Hutchinson is the director of the National School Shieldprogram that deals with putting armed guards at every school.

Hutchinson presented two guiding points to his school safety plan.

"First of all every decision on school safety should be madeby the local school district, it's not something that should be dictated byWashington," Hutchinson said.

"Secondly, I think it's important to recognize that teachersshould teach and others should protect."

Hutchinson said the right response is not to take firearmsaway from citizens but to focus more on security.

"We wanted to be able to protect school children consistentwith our second amendment, and the way to do that is to increase security," he said.

Hutchinson's plan calls for a wide range of safety measures.

"It deals with perimeter security, access control,locks on doors, all of the practical things that a school has to deal with," Hutchinson said.

Debbie Smith is the superintendent of Paragould SchoolDistrict and says they are always looking for ways to improve the safety oftheir students.

"I thought the event today was tremendous," Smith said. "It's greatinformation from Mr. Hutchinson. There is not a day that goes by that everyonein education does not think about the safety of their students."

Smith said she thought his proposed plan was very thorough and brings up new ideas regarding school safety.

"Arkansas actually helped shape these recommendations. I metwith school superintendents all across Arkansas and teachers about whathappening in the schools here," Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson said the plan also calls for training programsfor resource officers who carry guns.

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