COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine is advocating for school safety by encouraging districts to apply for new grant funding for security equipment like metal detectors.
The initiative is known as the Ohio Comprehensive School Safety Framework, a framework of strategies for building a safer environment for students. It includes Ohio’s School Safety and Security Grant program, which provides funding of up to $100,000 for K-12 schools to afford panic alarms, cameras, door locks, metal detectors and more.
“This means that every qualifying school that applied for funding but did not get it, will now receive a grant for the upgrades needed to make their school safer,” said DeWine.
However, the grant is only eligible for K-12 schools and requires each building to go through a security and vulnerability assessment from law enforcement.
“Every school is different, depending on what they have and what they need. So they work with local law enforcement to really figure out what the best solutions are for them,” said Emily Torok, executive director for the Ohio School Safety Center.
The Ohio School Safety Center works to assist local schools on how to prevent and respond to threats or acts of violence. Torok said, while most schools in Ohio do not have metal detectors, that’s not uncommon.
“Just because you see one school implementing a particular type of safety solution, doesn’t mean that it’s going to be right for your school,” said Torok.
NBC4 contacted more than a dozen of our area’s largest school districts and found that only Columbus City Schools has metal detectors. In a statement, the district said, “The metal detectors deployed at our high schools are used as needed and as part of the Safety and Security department’s random security screenings and wanding. In addition, these units and wanding are used as a part of our entrance procedures at athletic and other school events.”
Torok said wanding is becoming more common at outside events for schools.
“There could be many other things at play that they don’t know about, it could be a bag check policy, typically we see those detectors in the bag check policies when the community comes in for sporting events,” said Torok.
In addition to this grant, DeWine is also requesting funding to help with staffing school resource officers in Ohio’s school districts.