State law requires districts to implement multi-hazard practice drills (e.g., fire, lockdown, active shooter, or evacuation drills) and encourages or requires inter-agency coordination.
Arkansas Code 12-13-109. Fire drills.
It shall be the duty of the Director of the Division of Arkansas State Police, his or her officers, and deputies to require teachers of public and private schools and all educational institutions to have one (1) fire drill each month and to keep all doors and exits unlocked during school hours.
Arkansas Code 6-10-121. Tornado safety drills -- Definition
- (1) As used in this section, public school means:
- (A) A school that is part of a public school district under the control and management of a local school district board of directors; or
- (B) An open-enrollment public charter school.
- (2) Public school includes the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts, the Arkansas School for the Deaf, the Arkansas School for the Blind, and juvenile detention centers. (b) The Director of the Division of Emergency Management shall require all public schools to conduct tornado safety drills not less than three (3) times per year in the months of September, January, and February.
Arkansas Code 6-15-1301. Creation — Composition — Powers and duties.
(a) The Division of Elementary and Secondary Education shall create a Safe Schools Committee. (b)
- (1) The Safe Schools Committee shall be composed of the following individuals:
- (A) One (1) classroom teacher appointed by the Arkansas Education Association;
- (B) Two (2) school administrators appointed by the Arkansas Association of Educational Administrators;
- (C) Two (2) school district board members appointed by the Arkansas School Boards Association;
- (D) A staff member of the division appointed by the Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education;
- (E) A school safety specialist, employed by an Arkansas school district, appointed by the commissioner;
- (F) One (1) school counselor appointed by the Arkansas Counseling Association;
- (G) The Director of the Criminal Justice Institute and of the Arkansas Center for School Safety, or his or her designee;
- (H) One (1) classroom teacher appointed by the Arkansas State Teachers Association;
- (I) The Director of the Division of Emergency Management, or his or her designee;
- (J) The Executive Director of the Arkansas Public School Resource Center, Inc., or his or her designee;
- (K) A chief of police or a sheriff appointed by the commissioner;
- (L) The Executive Director of the Arkansas Rural Ed Association, or his or her designee;
- (M) The State Fire Marshal, or his or her designee;
- (N) One (1) school psychologist appointed by the Arkansas School Psychology Association; and
- (O) One (1) director of an Arkansas education service cooperative appointed by the commissioner.
- (2) The Chair of the House Committee on Education and the Chair of the Senate Committee on Education or their designees shall serve as ex officio members of the Safe Schools Committee. (c) The Safe Schools Committee is charged with the following responsibilities:
- (A) To develop model policies and procedures that may ensure a safe and productive learning environment for students and school employees for recommendation to school districts. The procedures shall focus on ensuring the security of students and school employees and shall include techniques for prevention, intervention, and conflict resolution.
- (i) The model policies and procedures shall include emergency plans for terrorist attacks, specifically including contingency plans for:
- (a) Attacks using:
- (1) Biological agents; and
- (2) Nerve gas or similar chemical agents; and
- (b) War.
- (ii) To the extent practicable, the model plans should include practice drills;
- (2) To recommend to the State Board of Education any necessary rules for ensuring a safe school environment; and
- (3) To recommend to the House Committee on Education and the Senate Committee on Education any necessary legislation for ensuring a safe school environment.
Arkansas Code 6-15-1303. Safe Schools Initiative Act
(a) A school district shall develop a school safety plan and provide annual training for all of its employees and students, to the extent practicable, in preventing and responding to acts of violence, terrorism, natural disaster, and other emergencies, including without limitation:
- (1) Tornado safety drills under § 6-10-121;
- (2) Emergency plans and panic button alert systems under § 6-15-1302; and
- (A) Annual active shooter drills and school safety assessments in collaboration with local law enforcement and emergency management personnel for all schools, including a school lockdown exercise with panic button alert system training.
- (B) The purpose of the training is to allow participants to:
- (i) Discuss simulated emergency situations in a low-stress environment;
- (ii) Clarify the roles and responsibilities of individuals and the logistics of handling an emergency on the school campus; and
- (iii) Identify areas in which the school safety plan should be modified.
- (1) On or before September 1, 2015, a school shall provide floor plans and pertinent emergency contact information to be used in connection with the panic button alert system through the statewide Smart911 system.
- (2) Public school administration shall update the information as necessary, including when substantial building modifications or changes are made.
- (3) Information provided under this subsection is not a public record and is not available for public inspection.
- (1) Subject to an appropriation and funding for this purpose, the Criminal Justice Institute shall provide the necessary training and education for:
- (A) Personnel designated by a school district or an education service cooperative concerning the active shooter drills required under this section through its Safe Schools Initiative; and
- (B) Law enforcement officers, emergency management personnel, and other persons who will conduct the school safety assessments and active shooter drills on a school campus under this section.