Arming School Personnel
League of Women Voters Ohio (LWVO) opposes the arming of school personnel under any circumstances. LWVO supports alternatives to arming school personnel to create a healthier and safer school environment; supports the consideration of research into the effects of arming school personnel in the total decision process used to arm school personnel; and supports the consideration of the effects on targeted students including students of color in this decision to arm school personnel. However, as Ohio legislation currently makes arming school personnel legal, LWVO supports the following regulations and considerations when arming school personnel: determining parameters; transparency; stakeholder views; funding & liability; storage; school personnel selection; and training. Read more…
With the passage of new lower guidelines for training and along with other gun legislation and law, the focus is on the local school board.
Armed School Personnel is the Decision of a Local School Board
Ohio House Bill 99, which was signed into law on June 13, 2022, reduced the current firearm training requirements for school personnel from 700 hours to only 24 hours, allowing School Boards to again make the decision to arm school personnel without a tremendous cost for training.
This was a bill about necessary training in order to be authorized by a School Board to carry a gun into the school. The bill was introduced as a reaction to the Ohio Supreme Court decision in the case of Gabbard v. Madison Local School District Board of Education which affirmed that longstanding Ohio law requires comprehensive training for any school employee who carries a gun in school. The decision affirmed a ruling by the Ohio 12th District Court of Appeals, which ordered the Madison Local School District to halt its armed teachers program which required as little as 24 hours of training.
This new law now emphasizes the need to let the public know the policy of the district.
When did Ohio first have teachers being armed?
Local School Boards in Ohio started arming teachers in 2012. Rock Hill Superintendent Wes Hairston was the first to publicly state that the district started arming teachers and staff after the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012. Many districts did so quietly so it is hard to know how many made this decision.
What happened after the Ohio Supreme Court Decision?
Districts that were arming personnel could no longer afford to do so. Therefore, suspended their policy.
What is the effect of Ohio’s other gun legislation?
Federal Gun Free School Zones Act was first introduced in the U.S. Senate in February 1990 as S. 2070 by Senator Herb Kohl of Wisconsin and then was incorporated into the Crime Control Act of 1990 that was signed into law by President George H. W. Bush. The “Federal Gun Free School Zones Act” makes it generally unlawful for any person to knowingly possess a functional firearm, within one thousand feet of the property line of any public or private elementary, middle, or high school in our nation.
Unauthorized guns still cannot be carried into schools. It is only by the local School Board’s agreement with the person being authorized to carry a gun into the school whether police, SRO or teacher. Therefore, Ohio’s permitless carry law cannot be used to take a firearm into a school.