Ohio Governor Signs Bill Allowing Armed School Employees
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio school districts could begin arming employees as soon as this fall under a bill signed into law Monday by GOP Gov. Mike DeWine.
In effect, the law requires that employees undergo up to 24 hour training to become armed and eight hours annually. The training programs must be approved by the Ohio School Safety Center, and DeWine announced he’s ordering the center to require the maximum 24 hours and the maximum eight hours.
DeWine stated that schools can offer additional training, if needed.
Prior to signing the bill, Governor Romney outlined other safety measures for schools that he supported with lawmakers, such as $100 million in school security improvements and $5,000,000 for upgrades at colleges.
To work with the districts and provide training, the state will also be adding 28 people to its school safety center. The governor also announced that Ohio provided $1.2 billion to schools for wellness funding, which will help with mental health issues.
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The new law “is giving schools an option, based on their particular circumstances, to make the best decision they can make with the best information they have,” DeWine said.
Although the governor stated that he prefers that schools districts employ armed school resource officers to safeguard children, he said that law enforcement is an additional tool that districts can use. He emphasized that it’s optional, not a requirement.
Mayors of Ohio’s biggest cities, including Cincinnati, Columbus, and Cleveland, planned an afternoon news conference to highlight gun violence in their communities and outline their differences with the governor over gun issues. Nan Whaley, DeWine’s Democratic opponent for governor, also planned a news conference, after denouncing his decision to sign the bill.
This was the day that a new law came into force, making concealed weapon permits optional for legal gun owners.
Democrats claim the law is sending the wrong message, especially after 19 victims and 2 teachers were killed at an elementary school near Uvalde in Texas. Republicans believe the law could stop such shootings. Legislators To counter an impact from a court decision that stated, according to current law, school personnel would require hundreds of hours training, the legislation was fast tracked.
The measure is opposed by major law enforcement groups, gun control advocates, and the state’s teachers unions. It’s supported by a handful of police departments and school districts.
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