Mercedes Schneider: Ohio Legislature Votes to Allow Guns in Its Classrooms
Mercedes Schneider covers the story of one more state’s irresponsible choice regarding guns in schools. Reposted with permission.
On June 03, 2022, the Ohio legislature passed a teacher-carry bill that is headed to Governor DeWine’s desk. DeWine says he will sign it into law.
Teachers and other staff can apply to become among those “to voluntarily go armed within a school safety zone.”
It seems that school districts can choose to have armed personnel. If a district chooses to have armed teachers or staff, the district must “notify the public” that it “has authorized one or more persons to go armed within a school,” which includes notifying parents.
Details are part of this greater bill. Included is the establishment of the “Ohio mobile training team,” part of the department of public safety. The purpose of this team will be “to provide services to public and nonpublic schools regarding school safety and security,” including “offering training opportunities for school employees, including… providing weapons manipulation instruction.” More details:
The mobile training team shall develop curriculum and provide instruction and training, including firearms training, that individuals may complete to satisfy the criterion specified in division (D)(1)(d)(i) of section 2923.122 of the Revised Code to be permitted to convey deadly weapons or dangerous ordnance into a school safety zone under division (D)(1)(d) of that section. Except as otherwise specified in division (D)(1)(d)(i) of that section, an individual shall successfully complete the
curriculum, instruction, and training so developed as a requirement to be permitted to convey deadly weapons or dangerous ordnance into a school safety zone under the authority of division (D)(1)(d) of that section.
Initial instruction and training, which shall not exceed twenty-four hours;
Annual requalification training, which shall not exceed eight hours.
Initial instruction: 24 hours or less. Not even a full work-week’s worth of hours. Then, one full day of brush-up a year. (If an individual needs remediation, so to speak, that’s covered, even though it contradicts “not exceeding 24 hours”:
Nothing in this section prohibits a school district board of education or governing body of a school from requiring additional training for an individual to which this section applies.
Districts can substitute their own gun training curriculum, so long as they cram all of the following in 24 hours or less:
(a) Mitigation techniques;
(b) Communications capabilities and coordination and collaboration techniques;
(c) Neutralization of potential threats and active shooters;
(f) Psychology of critical incidents;
(g) De-escalation techniques;
(h) Crisis intervention;
(i) Trauma and first aid care;
(j) The history and pattern of school shootings;
(k) Tactics of responding to critical incidents in schools;
(l) At least four hours of training in scenario-based or simulated training exercises;
(m) Completion of tactical live firearms training;
(n) Realistic urban training.
Less than 24 hours and the everyday teacher is ready to become an action-film hero.
But the classroom is no action film, and this bill leaves much unanswered.
The bill does not consider that many parents may not want their children attending a school in which one or more teachers have a loaded guns in the classroom. The bill does not require school officials to identify to parents exactly which teachers have loaded guns with them in their classrooms. The bill does not require teacher-arming districts to offer wary parents any alternative, such as immediate transfer to another school or non-packing district with transportation provided.
The bill does not require notifying parents of any safety precautions regarding having a loaded weapon in a classroom full of children.
The bill fails to consider any publicized safety protocol or any training for students or anyone else who must be in the classroom, day after day, with a loaded gun in the same room.
Is the teacher carrying a concealed weapon as that teacher works in close contact with students? Is it locked in a safe in the classroom? Who has access? Are the exact teachers “packing heat” kept a secret from parents and students? What if those teachers are discovered and publicized on social media? Do they then become marks by those who see it as a challenge to confront a teacher carrying a gun? Does it become a dangerous game to some students to try to steal the teacher’s gun? Does videoing the teacher’s gun become a social media challenge?
How will districts pay for the liability insurance? What companies will insure the 24-hour-trained, gun-toting teachers in rooms full of children?
Ohio school districts ought to think long and hard before jumping on this dangerous bandwagon.