RICHMOND, Ohio –The Edison Local School Board of Education took official action and will now permit armed staff members within its buildings, according to a press release the district released Sunday.
During the March 16 regular session at Edison High School, the board approved Superintendent Bill Beattie’s recommendation to authorize certified personnel to convey weapons and follows the recent signing of House Bill 99 with added guidance by Gov. Mike DeWine.
Under the code, the personnel are required up to 24 hours of initial school-specific training and up to eight hours of annual requalification to be developed by the Ohio School Safety Center (OSSC). As part of their training, selected staff would learn response tactics and neutralizing potential threats, among other strategies.
Gov. DeWine also emphasized that the bill was not a mandate but at the discretion of local school boards.
Edison had previously permitted the practice but stopped amid regulation changes, and now the district is resuming its plan once qualified staff regain their certification. Beattie said unnamed staff members were undergoing an eight-hour requalification and recertification training which involved a four-hour class and four-hour training at a shooting range.
He must then submit required paperwork to the state for the staff to regain their certification, after which they would be permitted to carry on the premises and help respond during a major incident. School board members also amended the district’s Emergency Management Plan to include those employees.
Beattie said the proximity of first responders was a major motivator in the plan.
“Based on the new requirements, the board reapproved the staff who were trained to carry and made an amendment to the emergency plan. Our next steps are to get those people trained, and then they have to go through eight hours of recertification training to be able to start carrying again,” he commented. “Being a rural school district with little law enforcement support locally and knowing the response time for other law enforcement, it gives us an extra layer of protection.”