(The Center Square) – Ohio school boards can put armed teachers in classrooms with one day of training, rather than the previously required month, after Gov. Mike DeWine signed a bill in response to an Ohio Supreme Court decision.
The court’s ruling mandated teachers complete the state’s 700 hours of basic peace officer education before legally being required to carry a fireman in a school. House Bill 99 dictates a maximum of 24 hours of training, but local boards can require more.
“Our goal is to continue to help our public and private schools get the tools they need to protect our children,” DeWine said. “Working together, we have come a long way to improve school safety in Ohio over the last decade, and we must continue this progress. We have an obligation to do everything we can every single day to try and protect our kids.”
Rep. Thomas Hall, R-Madison Township, originally introduced the bill after his father, serving as Madison High School resource officer, chased a shooter from the school in 2016.
The law also establishes the Ohio School Safety Center and the Ohio Mobile Training Team under the Department of Public Safety.
The Ohio School Safety Center helps schools develop and implement emergency management plans and assist schools with security. The Ohio Mobile Training Team will consist of one chief mobile training officer and 16 regional officers assigned to locations around the state. The officers must be peace officers or veterans.
“We are doing something to help protect the lives of our children and staff at schools here in Ohio,” Hall said. “In Butler County, we dealt with this firsthand when my father, who is a school resource officer at Madison High School, chased a school shooter from the premises. With these emergencies, seconds matter and this legislation today really matters.”
House Democrats said the bill signing endangers children, and the signing came on the same day the state’s new permitless concealed carry law went into effect.
“Just last month, our nation was rocked by tragedy after experiencing two horrific mass shootings in the span of a week,” saidnHouse Minority Leader Allison Russo, D-Upper Arlington. “Innocent children and people were murdered. But today, it’s business as usual for Statehouse Republicans who continue to ignore Ohioans’ cries for commonsense gun safety measures that will keep our communities safe. Make no mistake, these tragedies will continue to occur until Republicans decide to value the lives of children, families and law enforcement more than they value the approval of the gun lobby.”