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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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July 30th, 2013
06:17 PM ET

Arkansas district arms teachers, faculty members with guns

Call it "take your gun to school day" for 20 teachers and faculty members in Clarksville, Arkansas.

Ever since the horrific mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut last December, the Arkansas school district has been training staff to react in live action scenarios with student actors, in case a similar nightmare were to unfold in their schools.

Beginning this school year, teachers and school staff will start carrying concealed weapons through the hallways, to function as their own security guards.

And it's all legal – under a little-known state law that allows licensed, armed security guards on campus.

"We made sure they had really good training for this," said David Hopkins, superintendent for Clarksville schools, adding that the teachers and faculty members received 53 training hours through an outfit in northwest Arkansas.

There has been some push back against the idea, at least one mother has reportedly pulled her child out of the school system in reaction to the decision.

The President of the Arkansas Education Association, Brenda Robinson, also criticized the move, saying in a statement to CNN, "Guns have no place in schools, unless they hire trained security guards or police officers ... This training they are receiving does not equate with the same training as a paid professional."

"The training they have received is first class training," Hopkins said. "If you hire a new police officer out of the police academy, as far as the fire arms training portion that they received, we have received as much, or more training than they have received."

A recent study from the Southern Medical Journal found that "the dangers of having a gun at home far outweigh the safety benefits" because of accidents, suicides, impulsive acts, and kids getting guns.

"These guns will be concealed on the employees in the district," said Hopkins.

Hopkins said the training and the guns cost about the same amount as one additional resource officer for the district, approximately $50,000. Each faculty and staff member involved in the program received a stipend of $1,100 to purchase a gun, holster, and other equipment they might need.

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