Representative Michael John Gray, Democratic Party of Arkansas Chairman, came out last week in favor of a school safety bill by Rep. Scott Baltz (D-Pocahontas) which would add resource officers to every school campus in the state.
Booneville currently has one resource officer who works all campuses and is on hand at most extracurricular and after hour functions for the distirct. The SRO’s salray is split between the school district and the city of Booneville.
The Magazine School District fromerly split a position with the city of Magazine but currently does not have a dedicated SRO, though Magazine Police Chief Anthony Rogers is in attendance at most school events on campus.
“With this bill, Representative Baltz once again displays his commitment to improving the safety of Arkansas schools and the quality of education our students receive,” Gray said in a released staetment. “Since he arrived at the legislature, Rep. Baltz has introduced multiple bills that would improve school safety and protect our students, including a comprehensive Rave panic button system in classrooms which would work in conjunction with the already existing Smart911 program.”
The statement continued, “As a former fire chief in Pocahontas, Rep. Baltz also understands firsthand the need for qualified safety personnel at every public school in our state. We should provide our schools with the resources they need, not just add additional responsibilities to the teachers and staff that already serve there.
“Arkansas still lacks comprehensive school safety legislation, but Rep. Baltz and the Democratic Party of Arkansas look forward to working with Governor Asa Hutchinson to pass this bill, which would improve the safety and education at our public schools.”