by J.D. Davidson
An Ohio lawmaker believes it’s now more important to make it easier for teachers to have guns in the classroom following an Ohio Supreme Court ruling Wednesday that school districts must require police-level training for employees to be armed.
Rep. Thomas Hall, R-Madison Township, introduced legislation in April that requires school employees to complete only concealed carry weapon training to carry a gun on campus.
In a 4-3 ruling, the court sided with a group of Madison Local Schools parents who sued the district in September 2018 to stop teachers from being armed without extensive training, including more than 700 hours of peace officer training. Madison Local Schools adopted a policy that required only 24 hours of training before staff could carry a concealed weapon.
A Butler County judge initially dismissed the lawsuit, but the 12th District Court of Appeals ruled in March that anyone who carries guns in schools must have a minimum of 728 hours of law enforcement training, according to the Associated Press.
“I am very disappointed in this decision,” Hall said in a statement. “This ruling only underscores the critical and urgent need to get House Bill 99 signed into law.”
The bill, which has had three hearings in the House Criminal Justice Committee, has drawn opposition from teachers groups, law enforcement organizations, student groups and parent groups.
Only Hall, the Buckeye Firearm Association and two individuals provided supporting testimony at any hearing.
Conceal carry training is six hours of classroom instruction and two hours of on-range training. Hall’s bill gives districts the flexibility to require other training requirements for employees.
Hall’s father served as Madison High School’s only armed school resource officer in 2016 when he chased a shooter that was firing at students out of a school building. The shooter was later arrested.
“This permissive legislation gives school boards the ability to make enhanced school safety measurers by determining additional training requirements, beyond concealed carry permit training for arming teachers and staff if they chose to do so,” Hall said. “The Ohio General Assembly has a responsibility to give our school districts the option to protect their students and staff by embracing local control and establishing appropriate baseline training requirements for educations to carry a firearm.”
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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. He is regional editor for The Center Square.