COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Gov. Mike DeWine has tapped the next leader of school safety initiatives in Ohio.
At the Greater Columbus Convention Center on Monday, DeWine announced $47 million in grants will be awarded to schools across the state to fund safety-related expenses and selected his pick for the next chief training officer of the Ohio School Safety Center.
DeWine said 1,183 schools in 81 counties in Ohio will receive up to $50,000 each in grant funding to help cover safety-related expenses like security cameras, automatic door locks and exterior lighting.
Nineteen school buildings within the Columbus City School district, according to Ohio’s K-12 School Safety Grant Program, are poised to receive a total of $942,780 in funds.
“Helping schools pay for important security improvements is just one component of our comprehensive school safety approach that also supports the mental wellbeing of our kids and the work of local law enforcement to prevent crime,” DeWine said.
DeWine also announced that Mary Davis, a former police chief and former head of the Ohio Police Officers Training Academy, will serve as the Ohio School Safety Center’s chief training officer. Davis is charged with developing the school safety curriculum, including standards for training educators who choose to carry a firearm on school grounds.
“She is the right person for the job, and you’ll be hearing more from her, I’m sure,” DeWine said.
“The decision about arming a teacher is, No. 1, up to that school, and it’s voluntary,” DeWine said. “No. 2, no teacher can be compelled to be armed or carry a gun.”
In addition to hiring Davis, DeWine said the state is in the process of hiring 16 mobile field trainers to assist in teachers’ firearm training and 16 school safety liaisons, one for each region of the state, to connect schools with resources and information when it comes to school safety.
The Ohio School Safety Center, which DeWine created in 2019, is also available to help schools prepare for and respond to threats and acts of violence on school grounds, he said.
DeWine closed his remarks by thanking educators in the audience for keeping kids in Ohio schools safe.
“We appreciate what you do, we trust our schools,” he said. “Our schools and the people who work in our schools have done a phenomenal job in keeping them safe.”