Bill to Allow Ohio School Boards to Arm Teachers Advances

by J.D. Davidson


Legislation that would give local school boards the authority to put guns in the hands of teachers moved forward in the Ohio Senate after passing the House more than four months ago.

House Bill 99 received its first Senate hearing Wednesday in the Veterans and Public Safety Committee, with bill sponsor Rep. Thomas Hall, R-Madison Township, saying local schools need to be able to make decisions to protect students.

“At the end of the day, what we are talking about here is empowering our local schools to make the best decision for their students and educators so that our children feel safe and are safe in Ohio schools,” Hall said. “We have worked tirelessly on this bill to do our part in protecting our schools and our communities.”

The bill would require a school employee to complete concealed carry weapon training in order to carry on school grounds and complete 20 initial hours of training, along with four reoccurring hours of training established by the attorney general.

Staff members also would be required to meet certain range requirements, and school boards must notify the public if it elects to allow staff to be armed.

The bill passed the House on a party-line vote by Republicans despite a significant amount of opposition from law enforcement, teacher and education groups, churches and parental groups.

“If a school employee, regardless of her position, is carrying a firearm, they are considered on duty according to [the Ohio Revised Code],” Mike Weinman testified on behalf of the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio. “When armed, the teacher’s primary responsibility is no longer teaching but an armed first responder. She will be required to abandon her students and respond to whatever threat may be in the building a moment’s notice.”

Six school districts and two county sheriff’s departments, however, testified in favor of the bill.

“Trust the locally elected officials to do their jobs and govern on behalf of the people who elected them and put them in their positions. Trust that they care for the safety and well-being of their students and staff,” Ira Wentworth, superintendent of Indian Valley Local Schools, testified. “The school boards and those staff members who are selected and volunteer to conceal and carry are not the bad guys; they are the good guys wanting to protect others from the bad guys. Put your trust in the good guys.”

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An Ohio native, J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher. Davidson is a regional editor for The Center Square. 




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One Thought to “Bill to Allow Ohio School Boards to Arm Teachers Advances”

  1. randy

    Isn’t this just a bit sexist? “She will be required to abandon her students”