LITTLE ROCK, Ark – The Little Rock School District said that, in an effort to make school safer for students and staff, it’s enhancing security and safety measures.
In a memo, the district said it has ordered weapons detection systems for all schools, which are anticipated to be shipped to LRSD beginning in February.
The district also added that, when received, teams will immediately begin installing the systems in high schools with the goal of completion by spring break and that installation at middle schools should be completed by the end of the school year.
Latriana Robertson’s daughter is a senior at an LRSD high school. Robertson said that, although she applauds the district taking immediate action, she is on the fence about the weapon detection system.
“My feelings about the latest safety measures that are being taken by the LRSD are understandably needed but as a mother, it saddens me,” Robertson said. “Now our students will have to pass through a space where they are being checked for weapons.”
The district also said the Centegix Crisis Alert System is nearing its completion at all campuses. The crisis alert will be an automated approach to rapidly respond to incidents. Officials said in the memo, barring any unforeseen delays, that the alert system is expected to be operational by spring break.
Robertson said her daughter’s school has something similar and she thinks the alert system is a great idea.
“To hear my school’s principal voice and its calm and their fully transparent and sharing what took place and coming back with a follow-up here’s how the matter was resolved. I’m calm and at ease,” Robertson said.
Included in the memo, the district said it’s already upgraded camera systems at all secondary schools and many elementary sites. All schools are expected to have the new cameras in place by the start of the 2023-24 school year.
Although the majority of the safety measures Robertson agrees with, she also said she wants more from officials.
“Continue what you’re doing but also give us guidance as parents on what we can do,” Robertson said.
She said she believes parent involvement could help turn the tide.
“We as parents need to encourage them [students] to make smart choices, encouraging them to think before being highly influenced by a buddy or pal,” Robertson said.
The school district said they will keep the community updated on the progress.