Arkansas School Safety Commission

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (left) listens to Arkansas School Safety Commission Chair Cheryl May during a press conference Monday to unveil the commission's final report with recommendations for schools.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

After nine months of work, the Arkansas School Safety Commission released its final report Monday with recommendations on how schools could best avoid mass shootings. The panel was created by Gov. Asa Hutchinson in March as a response to a school shooting in Parkland, Florida where 17 people were killed. 

Keynote speaker Carly Posey addresses the crowd at the 14th annual Arkansas Safe Schools Conference in North Little Rock.
Daniel Breen / KUAR

Law enforcement and education officials from around the state are gathering in North Little Rock to discuss best practices for improving school security.

The 14th annual Arkansas Safe Schools Conference comes one week after the Arkansas School Safety Commission released its preliminary report on how to thwart and respond to threats of school violence.

Students and adults in Jonesboro joined the crowds elsewhere in the state and the nation on Saturday for a March for Our Lives protest demanding gun control and other measures to help stop mass shootings, but the Jonesboro rally was also a remembrance of the Westside Middle School shooting exactly 20 years earlier.

“Just because we are students, just because we are kids does not mean we do not understand this issue.  We have a voice,” said Mohannad Al-Hindi, a senior at Jonesboro High School.

“I’m just wondering how many more school shootings it’s going to take,” said Makyla Norvell, 15, who attends Riverside High School.

Jonesboro is marking a grim anniversary March 24 — 20 years ago two children shot and killed five people outside Westside Middle School. 

The shootings occurred 13 months before the massacre at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado  that is often called the seminal tragedy in a subcategory of mass shootings that take place at America's schools. 

Most recently, 17 students and teachers died at the hands of a gunman inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Feb. 14.

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Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson has formed a committee to look at ways to improve security for teachers and students at public schools across the state.  The Arkansas School Safety Commission has been formed.  It consists of 11 members that will look at several issues that can make up for a lack of armed resource officers in smaller schools. The first report will be due July first.  Dr. Cheryl May is the director and will chair the commission.

“We very much look forward to be able to provide recommendations that will have a true impact on our schools,” said May.

A panel tasked by Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson to make recommendations on how schools can try to prevent mass shootings has begun its work. On Tuesday, the Arkansas School Safety Commission held its first meeting. You can hear the report above.