CENTEGIX | Education

Arkansas School Safety Standards

CENTEGIX | Education

Arkansas School Safety Standards

Arkansas LEARNS Act

On March 8, 2023, Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed Act 237, known as the Arkansas LEARNS Act, into law. Intended to bring sweeping changes to Arkansas’ education system, the law covers a broad range of topics, including everything from school vouchers, to increased pay for teachers and higher literacy standards for elementary students, to safety training and resources. The law’s six key areas include:


The state will improve access to quality pre-K and make reading coaches available for at-risk children.


Empower parents with more choices, so no child is ever trapped in a failing school and lifetime in poverty, and curriculum transparency through innovation and online resources.



    Reward good teachers with smart incentives, like higher pay. Create a strong pipeline by allowing soon-to-be teachers to spend their entire last year in the classroom, offer alternative certification improvements, and better leadership trainings.


    Create flexibility for students to pursue internships and apprenticeships while in school and align career and technical programs with jobs that are in high demand; Establish a workforce cabinet to execute a clear vision with better coordination; Launch a statewide campaign to support the work of technical and trade schools and opportunities that exist for the future workforce.


      Expand high-speed internet to make educational and career opportunities accessible.

        School Safety

        Prioritize school safety by focusing on physical security, additional resource officers, mental health, and training to implement best practices.

        School Safety Commitments

        The Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) will accomplish their school safety goals through the following commitments:

        • Distribute funds for improvements in safety measures: Continue to oversee the implementation of the $50 million of grant funding to provide resources for districts as they implement ADE’s safety priorities.
        • Expand new Safe Schools Unit to support districts: Expand the new Safe Schools Unit to provide direct support to districts as they put into place new procedures. This unit will be instrumental in providing direct support, professional learning, monitoring, and direction regarding school safety.
        • Develop best-practice crisis response plans: Develop a statewide crisis response plan that identifies the roles and responsibilities of each actor (state and local partners) in time of a crisis and support districts to create a local crisis response plans.

        Arkansas Center for School Safety

        The Arkansas Center for School Safety (ACSS) provides education, resources, training, and more to educators and law enforcement professionals in Arkansas to help them in providing our students with a safe, supportive learning environment to reach academic success.

        Safe Schools Intiative Act (Ark. Code § 6-15-1303)

        The Safe Schools Initiative Act (Ark. Code § 6-15-1303) details the responsibilities of Arkansas school districts regarding school safety and emergency response plans. There are several key areas of responsibilities.

        ACSS Catalog

        The Criminal Justice Institute and the Arkansas Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) have partnered to create a robust catalog of basic and specialty school safety training courses, available to law enforcement and school personnel such as administrators, teachers, staff, counselors, and school security officers.

        The Arkansas Center for School Safety uses practical, hands-on application and classroom-based instruction together in a myriad of topics that increase knowledge and skills pertaining to school safety issues.

        Some of the topics covered include professional development for school resource officers, safety and crisis planning, active shooter response, drugs on campus, gang awareness and intervention, and bullying awareness and prevention.

        Learn more here.

        Key Responsibilities

        School Safety Assessments: Each school district in Arkansas must conduct a comprehensive school safety assessment every three years. It should include an assessment of the following:

        • Safety and security of the site and exterior of buildings
        • Access control
        • Safety and security of the interior of buildings
        • Monitoring and surveillance, including without limitation type and extent
        • Communication and information security
        • Review of emergency operation plans
        • School climate and culture

        School Safety Plans: Each school district in Arkansas must develop and maintain a comprehensive school safety plan. This plan must address various aspects of school safety, including but not limited to emergency response procedures, crisis management, prevention and mitigation strategies, and communication protocols.

        Collaboration and Input: The law emphasizes the importance of collaboration and involvement from various stakeholders in developing the school safety plan. This includes input from school administrators, teachers, parents, law enforcement agencies, and other relevant community organizations.

        Annual Review and Updates: School districts are required to review and update their school safety plans at least once a year. This ensures that the plans remain current and effective in addressing evolving safety concerns.

        Training and Drills: The law mandates that school personnel, including teachers and staff, receive appropriate training on emergency response procedures and crisis management. It also requires schools to conduct regular safety drills, such as fire drills, tornado drills, and lockdown drills, to familiarize students and staff with the appropriate actions to take during emergencies.

        Reporting Incidents: School districts must establish a system for reporting incidents that pose a threat to the safety and security of students and staff. This may include procedures for reporting bullying, harassment, violence, or other concerning behaviors.

        Coordination with Law Enforcement: The law encourages school districts to collaborate with local law enforcement agencies to enhance school safety efforts. This may involve establishing partnerships, sharing information, and coordinating response plans.

        Grants for Arkansas School Safety Solutions

        Stronger Connections Grant

        In late 2022, the U.S. Department of Education announced nearly $1 billion in awards through the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA). In Arkansas, the Stronger Connections grants aim to provide students with safe and supportive learning opportunities and environments critical for academic success.

        Through the BSCA, Congress awarded $1 billion in funding to state educational agencies (SEAs) to develop state grant programs to give students safer and healthier learning environments. The BSCA specifies that SEAs must award these funds competitively to high-need LEAs, as determined by the state.

        This grant focuses on helping schools foster sustained learning, engagement, and attachment for students in Arkansas schools. The Stronger Connections Grant Program mandates that schools should accomplish this by becoming more resilient, supporting mental health, and improving school climate.

        According to the Department of Education, schools should spend Stronger Connections Grant Program funds to: 

        • Implement evidence-based strategies that meet students’ social, emotional, and mental well-being needs. 
        • Create positive, inclusive, and supportive school environments.
        • Increase access to place-based interventions and services.
        • Engage students, families, educators, staff, and community organizations in selecting and implementing strategies to create safe, inclusive, and supportive learning environments. 
        • Design and implement policies and practices responsive to underserved students, protecting student rights, and demonstrating respect for student dignity and potential. 

        Examples of spending that qualifies for funding include hiring counselors and nurses, expanding mental and behavioral health services, providing teacher training on inclusion and behavioral interventions, and other related efforts to create a positive and supportive climate in Arkansas schools.

        ESSER Funds

        As part of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds were made available to address the pandemic’s impact on student safety and mental well-being. As of June 30, 2022, Arkansas has spent 43% of the total awarded funds.

        For the first round of ESSER grants, the state was allocated $128,758,638. The deadline to obligate those funds was Sept. 30, 2022. 

        The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act was passed in 2020. As part of the act, Arkansas’ ESSER II allocation was $558,017,409, and it must be obligated by Sept. 30, 2023.

        Another round of funding was made available as part of the American Rescue Plan. Arkansas’ portion of those ESSER funds is $1,254,119,960, and the obligation deadline is Sept. 30, 2024.

        COPS School Violence Prevention Program

        The U.S. Department of Justice oversees the COPS School Violence Prevention Program. The money is earmarked for evidence-based school safety programs and technology.

        Schools can use those funds to purchase school safety technology that helps identify potential dangers. The money can also be used to improve emergency notification and response systems. To learn more, visit the COPS website.

        BJA’s STOP School Violence Program

        The U.S. Department of Justice also has funds available through the Bureau of Justice Assistance. BJA’s STOP School Violence Program funds software that helps K-12 schools maintain a safe environment. It’s geared toward recognizing, responding to, and preventing violence on campus. Learn more here.

        Federal Grants

        The list of federal grants awarded to Arkansas for the 2022-23 school year includes:

        • IDEA ARP: $24,474,391 
        • IDEA: $157,959,371 
        • Title I: $354,297,729 
        • Title IV-A: $11,752,441

        How Are Your Resources Being Spent?

        CENTEGIX protects over 11,500 schools across the country. We can protect your school, too.

        The CENTEGIX Safety Platform™, featuring CrisisAlert™, accelerates your response to emergencies. We’ve built the CENTEGIX Safety Platform to support you in the single most critical factor of incident response: time. Because in an emergency, every second matters.

        Discover federal resources to fund new safety and security initiatives in your district by exploring federal funding resources for school safety.

        CENTEGIX | White Paper

        The Impact of Safety on the Mental Health and Well-being of Staff and Students in K12 Schools

        When safety leads, success follows.

        We’ve examined how physical, emotional, and mental health needs comes together to create the best possible outcomes for your district in our latest white paper. Access it today.
        Download your copy of The Impact of Safety on the Mental Health and Well-being of Staff and Students in K12 Schools now 
        The Impact of Safety on Student Mental Health thumbnail

        Customer Spotlight

        Little Rock, AR

        The focus on safety has increased in recent years, and as the new school year starts, we looked at some new changes in Central Arkansas’s largest school district, including the addition of the CrisisAlert solution.

        Little Rock Public Schools

        Little Rock, AR

        Learn about why Little Rock Public Schools chose CENTEGIX’s CrisisAlert solution as part of their new efforts to increase school security to help keep their staff and students safe.

        Central Arkansas Library System

        Central Arkansas

        The Central Arkansas Library System has chosen CENTEGIX’s CrisisAlert solution to protect the staff and patrons across all 14 branches throughout central Arkansas.

        The Main Library of the Central Arkansas Library System in Little Rock, AR, with the CALS logo in the upper lefthand corner.

        Hear from Our Educators

        We engage with teachers and staff every day to understand how CrisisAlert supports them, and here’s what they’ve shared:

        A student was having trouble breathing and her vision was beginning to black out. We don’t have service in our building and it can be difficult to get ahold of the office staff, so having something to immediately alert them of emergency was incredibly helpful in a very scary situation.

        Elementary school teacher

        Clayton County Schools, GA

        I had a student who was refusing to follow directions and became very defiant. This student was beginning to get aggressive. I used my badge to alert our campus security monitor to remove the student from the situation. It is a very useful tool when the response was as immediate as it was.

        High school teacher

        Clark County School District, NV

        A student was having a severe panic attack, trouble speaking, crying, not able to answer my questions as to what was wrong with her. I used the device to call for administrative help and it worked like it was designed to. Help arrived in a matter of seconds. I saw firsthand how well it works.

        Middle school teacher

        Palm Beach County Schools, FL

        The Safety Platform™ Meets Grant-Funded Safety Measures

        The CENTEGIX Safety Platform is an emergency incident response safety system that features wearable panic buttons, digital mapping software, and reunification and visitor management capabilities and generates accurate, usable data. The Safety Platform solution uses visual strobes, digital messages, and automated intercom announcements to inform everyone of a campus-wide incident and to instruct them on actions they should take. The Safety Platform meets the security infrastructure needs the Arkansas school safety grants aim to address.

        The Safety Platform features an analytics dashboard that assists administrators as they make safety and security decisions. A data set is generated when a staff member uses their wearable badge to request assistance. Administrators can better understand where and why and under what conditions. These administrative decisions, enabled by Platform data, contribute to the “positive and safe climate” that the safety grants aim to foster. 

        The CENTEGIX school safety platform provides robust and uninterrupted communication between staff members, administrators, first responders, and students. Unlike other emergency incident response systems, the Safety Platform’s technology precludes adoption and connectivity challenges. It runs on a dedicated IoT network; it’s not susceptible to Wi-Fi or cellular connectivity interruptions. And because the CrisisAlert mobile panic button is worn along with an ID badge, 100% of staff members use it. This high adoption rate means that every staff member at every location on campus can request help when they need it. CrisisAlert generates accurate location data for every alert, no matter where on campus. Therefore first responders know exactly where to go during an emergency. In many instances, this kind of rapid response can prevent tragedy. 

        These critical features of the CrisisAlert badge and Safety Blueprint from CENTEGIX ensure an immediate response: 

          Desktop takeover notifications for staff mean campus-wide alerts are never missed.

          Location accuracy enables rapid response.

          The system immediately connects the parties best prepared to handle the situation.

          Wi-Fi and phone outages have no effect on the system.

          Wearable security badges are easily accessible, lightweight, and wearable.

          CENTEGIX Safety Platform can help school districts and LEAs enact these measures, making students and staff safer. The Safety platform school safety solution helps create a climate of safety by enabling staff members to request help immediately, from anywhere on campus, in any type of emergency. Under these conditions, teachers can focus on student needs, and students can focus on learning. 

          CENTEGIX is the leader in incident response solutions. CENTEGIX innovates safety solutions to empower and protect people every day. Leaders nationwide trust our safety solutions to provide peace of mind in the workplace. Our Safety Platform is the fastest and easiest way for staff to get help in an emergency, from the everyday to the extreme.

          Championing Safe Schools with Educators and Educator Associations

          Discover the Safety Platform

          Safety solutions that prioritize speed for the best outcome.

          One Button Activation icon
          A wearable mobile panic button quickly and discreetly initiates alerts.
          Location Accuracy icon

          Mapping and locating capabilities provide the precise locationof emergencies, visitors, and safety assets.

          Audio Visual Notifications icons
          Audiovisual notifications notify everyone rapidly of a crisis.
          One Button Activation icon

          A visitor management system screens and locates visitors on your campus.

          One Button Activation icon

          Protocol development to plan for rapid incident response.

          One Button Activation icon
          A private, managed network provides campus-wide coverage.
          One Button Activation icon
          Integrations to your existing safety assets to extend their capabilities.

          CENTEGIX CrisisAlert vs. Mobile Apps

          CrisisAlert eliminates vulnerabilities related to app-only solutions and enables rapid incident response to all emergencies.

          In an Emergency, You Need CrisisAlert™

          Adverse situations can happen at any moment—from everyday crises such as medical emergencies, severe weather, and physical altercations to extreme situations that threaten your entire campus. The faster you get help to the right location, the better the outcome.

          See how our CrisisAlert wearable mobile panic button empowers staff to get help instantly in an emergency. 

          Ready to Connect with a CENTEGIX Specialist to Learn More?

          Jim Frodsham

          Education Channel Manager

          Phone: 360-773-6477

          Email: jfrodsham@centegix.com

          Heather Connelly

          Regional Vice President

          Phone: 512-497-0712

          Email: hconnelly@centegix.com

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