LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – An Arkansas lawmaker said she is looking for funding to provide critical safety updates to schools.
Republican State Senator Missy Irvin said the funding would be dedicated to facility and safety improvements.
“More emphasis needs to be put on updating our school facilities to ensure that safety,” Irvin said.
The Republican said her eye has been on safety for the last decade after getting the Safe School Initiative Act passed in 2013 after the tragedy in Sandy Hook.
The law requires active shooter drills at public schools and training for teachers.
Irvin said she is looking at dedicating facility and technological update funding that could include buzzers, cameras, double entrances, immediate lockdown doors and windows that allow kids to crawl out in an emergency — just to name a few.
“We want to respect local school boards and we want to respect those local decisions and local governments but we also need to make sure that the money is being spent in the way that is going to rectify the situation and save lives,” said Irvin.
Democratic State Representative Tippi McCullough spent three decades in the classroom before getting into politics.
She said she could support additional funding for safety and other updates but believes one thing needs to be at the forefront.
“I’m sure there are things that can be done,” McCullough said. “I don’t want to over-security our schools – I don’t want them to feel like prisons in a sense where they’re not places that kids can go and feel free to learn.”
Lawmakers agree it’s about preventing a tragedy from even happening.
“I think that goes directly to mental health resources,” McCullough said.
Irvin agrees on mental health resources but has also backed juvenile justice reform — pushing for seamless communication between schools and juvenile courts.
Lawmakers will meet at the capitol to discuss school safety on June 6.