Readout of Federal Commission on School Safety's Third Field Visit on Proactively Protecting Our Schools

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Readout of Federal Commission on School Safety's Third Field Visit on Proactively Protecting Our Schools

August 1, 2018

The Federal Commission on School Safety (FCSS) held its third field visit on August 1, 2018 at the Lake Hamilton School District in Pearcy, Arkansas. The Department of Justice facilitated the visit to learn about the geographic and logistical challenges faced by rural school districts as well as the strategies they have adopted in an effort to meet them. In particular, with the community's guidance and in cooperation with law enforcement, the school district has implemented a Commissioned School Security Officer program to improve the armed response time to active shooter situations.

Commission member Attorney General Jeff Sessions led the event. The Department of Education was represented by Deputy Secretary Mick Zais. The Department of Homeland Security was represented by Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers Director Thomas Walters. The Department of Health and Human Services was represented by Deputy Director Cynthia Kemp.

"The fundamental duty of government is to keep its people safe and that includes our most precious citizens... our children," Attorney General Sessions said in his opening remarks.

The Commission field visit consisted of opening remarks and two roundtable sessions:

Opening Remarks

  • Asa Hutchinson, Governor of Arkansas
  • Congressman Bruce Westerman
  • Steve Anderson, Superintendent of Lake Hamilton School District

Roundtable 1: School Personnel Working with Law Enforcement

  • State Representative Bruce Cozart, Legislator & Former School District Board Member
  • Cory Cox, Chief of Staff in the Arkansas Attorney General's Office
  • Dr. Cheryl May, Director of the Arkansas Criminal Justice Institute & Chair of the Arkansas School Safety Commission
  • Jami Cook, Director of the Arkansas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training & Member of the Arkansas School Safety Commission
  • Jerry Keefer, Special Agent & previous Active Shooter Training Administrator
  • Jeff Britt, Director of Support Services for the Lake Hamilton School District
  • Mike McCormick, Garland County Sheriff
  • Jason Lawrence, Garland County Undersheriff

Roundtable 2: Community Perspective

  • Dr. Jay Barth, Chair of the Arkansas State Board of Education
  • Dr. Nancy Anderson, Superintendent of the Cutter-Morning Start School District
  • Dan Brashears, Superintendent of the Center Point School District & Father of Lake Hamilton student & Husband of Lake Hamilton teacher
  • Vance Dobyns, President of the Lake Hamilton School District Board
  • Mark Curry, Member of the Lake Hamilton School District Board
  • Jason Stachey, Hot Springs Chief of Police & Parent of 3 Lake Hamilton students
  • Karl Koonce, Science Teacher & Track & Cross Country Coach at Lake Hamilton
  • Mandy Hopkins, Language Arts Teacher, Graduate of Lake Hamilton, Parent of 2 Lake Hamilton students, Wife of Lake Hamilton Assistant Principal
  • Dr. Kevin Hale, Parent of 4 Lake Hamilton students