Potential school shooters in Ohio may think twice before stepping foot into a classroom with a gun. Over the past four years, an increasing number of school districts in The Buckeye State have authorized teachers, staff and faculty members to carry firearms.
“Five years ago we probably wouldn’t have considered it, and even three or two years ago I would still have been saying this is not the direction we want to go,” said David Hire, Superintendent of Coshocton City Schools, who hopes to have armed staff members in his schools by year end. “But we’re living in a society where this is becoming almost weekly or every other week where there is some event somewhere around the country.”
The individual school policies allowing staff to carry are legally permitted to remain secret, leaving some parents and all potential shooters unaware of which schools allow armed teachers or which teachers may be armed.
In June, the Zanesville City Schools District passed a concealed firearms policy during a public meeting while a neighboring district to the east, East Muskingum Local Schools, parents and students aren’t sure if teachers in their district are armed.
“As protected by the law, school safety plans are not public record,” Superintendent Jill Sheridan said in an email inquiring as to whether the school district has adopted a policy to arm its staff.
Of course, there are many Ohio school superintendents who say they do not support allowing school staff members to carry firearms to defend themselves and to protect students and fellow faculty members.
“”Fremont City Schools does not have a policy that allows staff to carry concealed firearms. The district has no plans to develop such a policy.” said Fremont City Schools Superintendent Traci McCaudy.
“I have 35 years in public school administration in some capacity and never did I think we would be arming staff,” said Dick Caster, school safety and security consultant for the Ohio School Boards Association. “When you talk about arming staff, it’s kind of chilling, but you cannot not have the discussion.”
For Coshocton City Schools Superintendent David Hire, who said he never had an interest in guns and his religious beliefs
“I’ve come full circle to say that I’m not going to allow someone to take someone else’s life,” he said. “I feel a confidence about the people that have gone through the training.”
Well done, Ohio – keep it up!