The ongoing debate over arming teachers has gained momentum between teachers, parents, students and law enforcement. In an article on ww.Edweek.org, the idea of arming teachers, or loosening state restrictions to allow concealed-carry permit holders to bring guns into schools, is often circulated after school attacks, such as Sandy Hook Elementary School and the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. There are many schools in Arkansas that are arming teachers, such as Heber Springs.

            The arguments in favor of armed teachers include U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos who believes districts have the flexibility to use federal funds to arm teachers. At a speech just after the Parkland shooting, President Trump argued that armed teachers with training and experience who "love their students" might be better able to protect them in an active shooting scenario than an armed police officer. There does not appear to be a law that prevents teachers from carrying guns in Arkansas. The number of teachers carrying guns in and around schools in Arkansas is growing. Armed teachers and school officials at Heber Springs all had criminal history investigations and psychological tests before being permitted to carry a gun at school. Each received about 60 hours of gun training, as well as extra training three times a year. "I see it as protecting more than one person. I'm protecting all the other students," states one such teacher for VOA News.

            On the other side of the debate is the opposition to armed teachers. In one article published in the New York Times states that putting guns in the hands of school staff is often met with resistance from educators, who say they do not want the responsibility of carrying and securing a firearm on top of their already demanding jobs. Some teachers suggest it puts an unfair burden on teachers. Many teachers believe that arming themselves, and their peers, would make schools less safe. All the major teacher, principal, school employee, and school security organizations oppose guns in schools, except when carried by a police or security officer.

            In Arkansas, Governor Asa Hutchinson asked a committee to study how to prevent future school shootings. As reported by the Arkansas Times, the committee’s report was released earlier this year. It said that individual schools need to make decisions for themselves. It suggested that "no [school] should ever be without an armed presence when staff and children are attending class or a major extracurricular activity." Not everyone agrees that arming teachers helps reduce or prevent gun violence. Cathy Koehler, president of the Arkansas Education Association, states that the preference is to invest in the mental health services that are desperately needed and underfunded in most school districts.

Most school officials agree that even with all the added security measures, a motivated shooter will find a way to do harm. Research shows even trained, full-time law enforcement officers are not wholly reliable in armed conflicts. According to the post, statistics show that serious behavioral incidents in schools rarely involve weapons. A bloody fistfight is no small thing. But they are not a new feature of adolescent behavior. Guns or counselors? Guns or early childhood intervention?