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Lawmakers Examine Readiness for Acts of School Violence

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Tragedies like the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting still fresh in the minds of Arkansas lawmakers who are now coming up with ways to protect your child's school from an act of violence.<br><br>
LITTLE ROCK, AR -- Tragedies like the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting still fresh in the minds of Arkansas lawmakers who are now coming up with ways to protect your child's school from an act of violence.

Hallways and classrooms are not as busy in Pulaski County Special School District in June but the work to improve school safety never stops.

PCSSD superintendent Jerry Guess says the district plans to fill a new head of security position when school starts again in the fall.

"We're particularly looking for someone who has law enforcement experience who understands security issues," Guess says.

But Guess says it goes further for PCSSD.  It includes more cameras on campus and for the first time, cameras on all district school buses.

Act 107 of the recently wrapped up legislative session directs lawmakers at the capitol to study the readiness of schools to prevent and respond to an act of violence.

Something sponsor state Senator Linda Chesterfield, D-Little Rock, feels all schools need.

"Many times we go about things helter skelter and we've got to stop that," Chesterfield says.  "Arkansas schools have been hit by acts of violence in the past.  We don't want to lose any children, we don't want to lose any adults."

And tragic school violence remains fresh on lawmakers and school leaders minds.

"It's not a matter of responding to Sandy Hook, although that tragedy caused all of us to stop and think about what we're doing," Guess says.

The House & Senate education committee will meet monthly for the rest of the year.  The goal is to have a working list of best practices every district in the state can use to proactively prepare and prevent acts of violence by 2014.
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