The Blanchester Board of Education in southwestern Ohio voted on Dec. 17, 2018 to allow trained staff to carry concealed firearms in their schools. The discussion occurred over a period of months with public input. The final decision by the board was unanimous. It went into effect this week with the start of the 2019-2020 school year.
Blanchester Local School District serves students in Brown, Clermont, Clinton and Warren Counties.
One Million Moms Against Gun Control shared their thoughts about the change on Friday.
“This is what every school should have posted out front,” they said in reference to Blanchester’s new signage.
The signs state, “Attention. The Blanchester Board of Education has given certain individuals the authority to carry firearms in Blanchester School Zones. These individuals may use whatever force is necessary to protect our students and staff.”
State Rep. John Becker (R- Union Township), talked to The Ohio Star about the new policy.
“I’m very pleased that Blanchester schools are taking a common sense approach to dealing with the potential for gun violence,” he said. “Rather than bankrupting the taxpayers by hiring expensive security that may or may not work or building schools that look like jails, they are allowing staff volunteers to carry concealed so that they can quickly eliminate any potential threat that might emerge, hence minimizing the likelihood that a student will get hurt. This is the responsible approach to dealing with gun violence.”
According to Crime Prevention Research Center‘s May report, titled Schools that Allow Teachers to Carry Guns are Extremely Safe, there “has yet to be a single case of someone being wounded or killed from a shooting, let alone a mass public shooting, between 6 a.m. and midnight at a school that lets teachers carry guns.”
One organization is providing free training for schools that choose to arm teachers and staff.
“FASTER is a Buckeye Firearms Foundation program that we sponsor and administer. It has trained approximately 2,000 staff members in 250 school districts from 19 states, but the vast majority of whom are from Ohio,” said Jim Irvine, a co-director of FASTER.
FASTER stands for Faculty Administrator Safety Training & Emergency Response.
Irvine told The Ohio Star that many districts have sought out their local law enforcement for training instead of going through FASTER, so determining how many districts have teachers and staff who carry is unknown.
“We don’t track the exact numbers because data is too easy to breach,” he added.
Such policies are no longer a fringe issue, according to Irvine. “It’s no longer about political issues, it’s about the safety of the kids. And we also provide medical trauma training as part of the FASTER program,” he said.
Irvine is calling for every school district to have staff trained in trauma treatment and for parents to ask them if they do.
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