COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – The school year is underway, and in 46 Ohio districts, some teachers and staff are going on to campus armed.
You can see a full list of schools that have submitted rosters for armed staff programs at the bottom of this story.
“My philosophy is quite simple: it takes a good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun,” Ohio Rep. Thomas Hall (R-Madison Township) said.
Hall sponsored the bill that enacted the law permitting schools to arm teachers and staff. The law went into effect last fall.
It requires armed school personnel to have a minimum of 24 hours of training and eight hours of annual requalification training.
“If they want to go above and beyond that and do 1,000 or 2,000 hours of training, they are well in their rights to do that,” Hall said. “But I think we’ve set a really good precedent of establishing that minimum but not maximum.”
Scott DiMauro, president of the Ohio Education Association, said he is not surprised that so few schools have opted in. He said schools and teachers want “common-sense solutions” to keep students and schools safe.
“Asking teachers to perform a dual role in primarily educating children and, on top of that, serving as armed security guards with little training, just doesn’t seem to be a common-sense solution,” DiMauro said.
DiMauro said a common-sense solution would be something like having a school resource officer (SRO) in every building. Hall agreed but said that right now, it’s not realistic.
“It’s not feasible because we don’t have enough cops in some parts of the state and then the money part of it,” Hall said. “Next budget, I would happily put in an amendment to make sure we try to get an SRO into every building.”
Hall said for now, this law can give schools, especially in rural areas where police response times can be slow, more peace of mind.
“We are just trying to provide an option for some of these schools that don’t have the luxury of having a fast response time or a resource officer in their building,” Hall said. “Kind of like another tool in the toolbox for them to use.”
Hall said he has talked to other schools across the state that are interested in exploring the option to arm their staff. He said he thinks the number will grow, but 46 is a good start.
“We can’t shortcut our way to safety by asking teachers to do even more when they have so much on their plates,” DiMauro said.
Here is a full list of schools and districts that have submitted rosters to arm their staff:
- Adams County Christian School
- Barnesville Exempted Village School District
- Benjamin Logan Local Schools
- Bridgeport Exempted Village School District
- Bright Local School District
- Caldwell Exempted Village School District
- Calvary Christian School
- Carrollton Exempted Village School District
- Clay Local School District
- Claymont City
- Eastern Local Schools District (Brown County)
- Edison Local School District
- Fort Loramie Local Schools
- Gallipolis City School District
- Garaway Local Schools
- Geneva Academy, Bellefontaine, OH
- Hardin-Houston School
- Highland Local Schools (Morrow County)
- Indian Creek Local School District
- Indian Lake Local Schools
- Jefferson County Educational Service Center
- Jefferson County Joint Vocational School
- Knox County Career Center Schools
- Licking County Christian Academy
- Mad River Local School District
- Madison Local Schools
- Manchester Local School District (Adams County)
- Maplewood Career Center
- Martins Ferry City School District
- Miami Valley Career Technology Center
- Morgan Local School District
- New Lebanon Local School District
- Newcomerstown Exempted Village School District
- Old Fort Local Schools
- River Valley Local Schools
- Rolling Hills Local School District
- Russia Local School
- Southern Ohio Educational Service Center
- St. Clairsville-Richland City Schools
- St. Mary’s City Schools
- Streetsboro City Schools
- Trumbull Career and Technical Center
- Tuscarawas Valley Local School District
- Upper Scioto Valley
- Warren Local School District
- Williamsburg Local School District