Armed teachers bill passes out of committee

By: - November 12, 2021 12:45 am

A teacher walks among the the masked students sitting in a socially distanced classroom session. (Photo by Jon Cherry/Getty Images).

A bill allowing the arming of teachers with school board authorization passed through an Ohio House committee on Wednesday.

The House Criminal Justice Committee passed House Bill 99 without any testimony, and with quick rebuff of amendments brought by Democrats.

The bill seeks to allow teachers to carry weapons with a minimum amount of training, with additional training that could be approved by school district boards of education, at their own cost. The bill came in response to a Ohio Supreme Court decision involving Butler County’s Madison Local Schools. The district authorized arming teachers after a school shooting there.

State Rep. David Leland, D-Columbus, proposed two amendments, one that would enhance a provision in the bill to require school boards or district governing bodies to notify the public and district members annually that personnel are authorized to carry firearms.

The amendment was tabled along party lines, 7 to 5.

Leland presented another amendment quickly tabled by the Republican majority, which would have required the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission to be the entity writing rules on training individuals going armed into schools.

Leland said the legislature should not “micromanage the training that goes on for people who want to carry” and that the commission is in place for such issues.

“This is what they do, they do this for law enforcement across the state of Ohio,” Leland said. “Let them do their work and let us not try to shoehorn some specific program into the legislation that’s going to be to the detriment of the school, of the children of the state of Ohio.”

The only amendment approved by the committee during the sixth hearing on the bill was to make that clear within the bill. State Rep. Andrea White, R-Kettering, asked for the amendment, not to make any changes, just to specify for Ohioans that schools or districts “may require more training than the initial training required in the bill … nothing prohibits that.”

The bill now moves on for full House consideration. Two House sessions are scheduled for next week.

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Susan Tebben
Susan Tebben

Susan Tebben is an award-winning journalist with a decade of experience covering Ohio news, including courts and crime, Appalachian social issues, government, education, diversity and culture. She has worked for The Newark Advocate, The Glasgow Daily Times, The Athens Messenger, and WOUB Public Media. She has also had work featured on National Public Radio.

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