UPDATED 11:15 AM PT – Friday, June 3, 2022
Schools in Ohio may be a bit safer in the near future as the state legislature passes a bill allowing school employees to arm themselves with 24 hours of intense training.
The Ohio Senate passed House Bill 99 on Wednesday. Critics argued the bill sends the wrong message to children in the wake of the tragic school shooting in Texas. Proponents said it would give schools an option to protect America’s children.
“Last week I called on the General Assembly to pass a bill that would allow local school districts to designate armed staff for school security and safety,” said Ohio Governor Mike Dewine (R). “My office worked with the General Assembly to remove hundreds of hours of curriculum irrelevant to school safety to ensure training requirements were specific to a school environment and contained significant scenario-based training. House Bill 99 accomplishes these goals and I thank the General Assembly for passing this bill to protect Ohio children and teachers. I look forward to signing this important legislation.”
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle made their cases in support or opposition to the bill. Many Republicans said now more than ever it is time to act.
“Our teachers didn’t sign up for this job to be sharpshooters,” voiced Michelle Mueller, a member of a gun safety group called Moms Demand Action. “They will tell you in their own voice. They are there to educate our children.”
Others pointed to the fact that after major tragedies or threats, security has been boosted where those events took place but not in schools. The training would include how to stop an active shooter, how to de-escalate a violent situation, trauma and first-aid care, at least four hours in scenario-based or simulated training exercises and a completion of tactical live firearms training.
“More guns in schools only increases the access that students have to guns,” high school student Katherine Hiland stated. “I would know best, I’m a teenager. We get up to a lot of trouble even when we don’t mean to.”
Slight changes made in the senate mean the bill will now head back to the House for a final vote. It will then be sent to Dewine’s desk to be signed. If signed, each school district will be able to decide if their staff can carry firearms and schools will be able to require more training if they find it necessary.