Most Central Ohio districts won't arm teachers
School employees can carry guns with minimal training when a new state law takes effect next month, though Columbus and most Central Ohio districts tell Axios they won't allow it.
Details: In the past, school resource officers were typically the only employees who carried weapons — after completing 700 hours of required training.
- Now districts can authorize any staff member to carry after 24 hours of training, just a few of which involve hands-on weapons exercises.
- A school board must notify families "by whatever means it regularly communicates with the public" if it allows for armed employees, per the law.
Between the lines: This district-by-district approach could make it difficult to track which ones are allowing weapons in schools.
- The Ohio Department of Public Safety will keep a private list of armed staff members, but is not committing to reporting even a redacted list of participating school districts.
- "Should a list exist in the future, DPS will evaluate record requests at that time," department spokesperson Jay Carey told us.
Other school-related legislation
State of play: Arming teachers is not the only change coming to Ohio schools this year. Other changes enacted by state lawmakers include:
- Incoming high school students are now required to take a financial literacy course and are no longer required to take a college admission test (ACT or SAT).
- New anti-hazing policies are in place.
- A new scholarship program offers one-time grants to students returning to finish their college degree.
- Schools and athletic conferences can no longer obstruct a student who wears religious apparel during competition.
What we're watching: These proposed bills remain pending in the Ohio Statehouse:
- A transgender athlete ban, enforceable by required genital inspections of disputed students.
- Prohibit kindergarten through third grade classrooms from referencing "sexual orientation or gender identity."
- Require all schools to post curriculum and instruction materials online.
- Reduce school board members' terms from four years to two.
- Prohibit school face mask and vaccine mandates.
- A student loan forgiveness program for those who stay and work in Ohio after graduating.
- Require students be provided daily moments of silence for "prayer, reflection, or meditation."
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