More schools look to armed teachers as first line of defense against shooters
by Sam Rolley
Officials at an Ohio school district are considering a proposal that would place guns in strategic locations on campuses to give teachers and faculty a potential advantage in the event on an active shooter scenario.
Riverside Local School board members discussed the issue of guns on campus for protection last week and will revisit proposals in mid-December, according to a report in the Dayton Daily News.
One such proposal would involve placing firearms in hidden lockboxes throughout the school and training willing teachers and staff to be part of an armed response team. Only those trained would be able to access the firearms.
The plan would follow the lead of Ohio’s Sidney City School District, which recently added hidden firearms and a collection of bulletproof vests to its safety provisions.
According to reports, 37 teachers in the district have access to the guns.
“We have some families that have indicated to us that they have open enrolled their children in Sidney City Schools because of the school security measures we have taken,” that district’s superintendent, John Scheu, told WDTN over the summer.
Sidney schools also feature signs notifying visitors that the campus is protected by an armed response team.
Riverside superintendent Scott Mann told local reporters that his district is investigating a similar plan because he believes the threat of an immediate armed response could be enough to deter would-be attackers.
“If people know you are protected and that can help us a little bit more, I’m all for it,” Mann said. “Just to reiterate — it’s going to be a community decision.”
Riverside board members have also discussed allowing teachers to carry firearms on their person, but Mann said he doesn’t think it’s a good idea.
“I do not want guns on teachers in the classroom,” Mann said. “I think that’s one of the worst safety plans you can have.”
The Ohio school districts aren’t alone in looking at ways to protect students by arming teachers.
In January, officials at the Argyle Independent School District in Texas voted in favor of allowing school marshals on campus under the Protection of Texas Children Act, meaning students started the school year with the knowledge that some teachers on campus are armed and prepared to defend themselves and students against armed intruders.
And for those who are unaware of the policy, Argyle ISD schools send a clear message with signs at campus entrances informing visitors, “Please be aware that the staff at Argyle ISD are armed and may use whatever force is necessary to protect our students.”
Argyle is one of a handful of Texas school districts which have chosen to take advantage of the added safety provided by arming teachers.
Laws allowing armed teachers also exist in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Tennessee.