State Moves Swiftly To Approve Bill To Arm Teachers In Schools

By Jessica Marie Baumgartner | Published

Ohio teachers

Ohio teachers will be allowed to carry firearms on school grounds without joining security teams. After the terrifying school shooting in Uvalde, Texas last week, many parents, school officials, and politicians have debated school security measures and gun control. Thanks to swift lawmaking action in Ohio, a bill to arm teachers in the classroom — without excessive requirements — has passed and will be signed by Governor Mike DeWine.

Americans across the nation watched as police forces stood down and allowed 19 children and 2 teachers to be gunned down at Robb Elementary School. Knowing that law enforcement did nothing, as students trapped within classrooms called 9-1-1 begging for help, sparked swift legislation to protect students by giving Ohio teachers the right to arm themselves without having to become peace officers. Teachers are often the only ones standing between children and an active shooter. They are at the mercy of security staff and local police forces which have proven failure. 

Ohio H.B. 99 removes a previous requirement which mandated that teachers and other school staff members had to undergo 700 hours of training to become official peace officers if they wished to carry a protective weapon on school grounds. Ohio teachers are now allowed to arm themselves in class with 20 hours of training and at least 2-hours of shooting range experience. This measure was designed to reduce the excessive gun curriculum that held no school safety information.

It is a completely optional program that was passed to allow Ohio teachers to protect themselves and their students if they deem it necessary and meet the criteria. Their new training requirements are specifically focused on areas of interest that will better prepare them for an intruder alert. They must learn how to stop an active shooter, de-escalate violent situations, and receive trauma and first-aid training. Four hours of school staff’s training completion must also include simulation exercises and tactical situations which include a live firearm. 

Governor DeWine had asked the General Assembly to take action and worked closely with members. His main goal was to create training requirements that specifically prepares Ohio teachers with the training they need to handle worst-case scenario school shooting situations. He also stated, “I look forward to signing this important legislation.” 

Opponents of the bill are imploring him not to sign it, this includes the Ohio Federation of Teachers Vice President, the Ohio Education Association, and the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio. These influential organizations claim that arming more teachers is not a solution, but many parents disagree. Knowing that Ohio teachers will undergo school shooting-specific training affords their children extra front-line security that includes tactics to talk a suspect down.

Ohio teachers

Being that security resource officers and police forces can be ordered to stand down while children are being slaughtered, added protections within schools mitigate that chain of command and gives educators the protection they need to save lives. In addition, despite national concerns, very few children die in school shootings, and the odds that a student will witness one are still incredibly low. Now that Ohio teachers have the ability to train and carry a firearm in the event that their school is targeted, students have an added layer of protection from someone they know and trust.