LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Governor Asa Hutchinson addresses the School Safety Commission’s interim report just weeks before the start of the new school year.

Hutchinson received several recommendations and said it will take legislative action next week in the special session to fund these recommendations.

“One it takes money, secondly it takes legal changes,” he said.

Half of the recommendations Governor Hutchinson mentioned in his press conference Tuesday had to do with mental health. The recommendations included expanding youth mental health training on school campuses, establishing behavioral threat assessment teams and giving access to more mental health services for students.

“There is a need to enhance the counseling capability in our schools and the mental health treatment,” Hutchinson said. “This is a start here.”

The commission also recommends having an armed presence on every school campus at all times and changing the state law to say all doors and exits have to remain locked during school hours.

But, it is going to take action by the state legislature to further these recommendations along. Governor Hutchinson said in next week’s special session, that legislators will vote on a $50 million grant program to fund these recommendations.

Dr. May said the commission has received massive support from superintendents across the state and legislators.

“Making that progress is very reassuring,” she said.

Again, this was just the interim report that was discussed Tuesday. The final one is due October 1 and will have additional and finalized recommendations to implement in schools.

Dr. May said some could become requirements, though. Legislators have the choice to pick up some recommendations when the session begins in January and try to make them become law, which they have done in the past when the commission last met in 2018.

The commission is set to meet again Tuesday, August 9, to continue going over recommendations.