Jun 14, 2022 - News

Columbus City Schools will not allow armed teachers

Teachers walk students from a school bus to the building.

Columbus students head to class on the first day of school last August. Photo: Courtney Hergesheimer/Columbus Dispatch/USA Today Network

Columbus City Schools will not permit teachers to carry guns in schools, despite a new state law in place allowing the practice.

Driving the news: Two years, 10 months and 10 days after being urged at a Dayton mass shooting vigil to "do something" to curb gun violence, Gov. Mike DeWine OK'd the bill yesterday to arm teachers with minimal weapons training.

  • The bill signing came on the same day a state law removing training and background check requirements for concealed carry holders went into effect.

Why it matters: The strong rebuke from Ohio's largest school district showcases the deep disagreement over how the state should act to curb gun violence in schools and elsewhere.

State of play: Ohio Republicans have loosened several gun laws in 2022 amid nationwide calls to do the opposite following deadly mass shootings at a Buffalo grocery store and a Texas elementary school.

What they're saying: "Arming educators is not a solution to gun violence," a statement from the Columbus Board of Education reads.

  • "The job of school professionals is to educate students. Our teachers and staff do not enter their professions to enforce laws."

Details: The education bill significantly reduces the training hours needed for school employees to be armed in buildings.

  • The previous requirement of more than 700 hours of basic officer training has been cut to a maximum of 24 hours.
  • In those 24 hours, teachers are expected to undergo tactical firearms training, learn trauma and first-aid care, participate in emergency simulations and study the history and psychology behind school shootings.

Of note: DeWine did not offer a full-throated endorsement of armed teachers, even after paving the way for them.

  • The governor told reporters that his preference is still that law enforcement officers, not teachers, be the ones carrying guns in schools.

Meanwhile, Ohioans over 21 years old no longer need a permit to carry a concealed weapon, as long as they are lawful gun owners.

  • Republican lawmakers approved the law in March, despite opposition from law enforcement and religious groups.
  • Attorney General Dave Yost, a Republican, is encouraging gun owners to still seek out training even without a requirement.
  • "Using a firearm is not instinct, and watching TV shows is not training," he said in a statement."
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