Is Arming Ohio's Teachers A Good Idea? Fraternal Order Of Police Says No

Oct 6, 2020
Originally published on October 5, 2020 6:15 pm

The Ohio chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police filed a brief in the state’s highest court Monday arguing against arming teachers, as the policies would “make an already dangerous situation even more dangerous for law enforcement, for school staff, and for the students themselves.”

The Ohio FOP laid out a series of dangers posed by arming teachers without extensive training. First among the points: anyone involved in a gunfight becomes less accurate.

“The result will be errant bullets flying down chaotic hallways full of running children,” they wrote. “Those bullets must go somewhere.”

Second, teachers without sufficient training will only make things harder for officers called to the scene, the group warned, and third, teachers will lack the proper training on “gun retention.”

“By accident or by force, students will end up with the guns in their hands,” the Ohio FOP wrote.

And finally, teachers without proper training will not be prepared for the decisions that have to be made in the event of a school shooting, the group said in the brief.

“An interpretation holding that a school resource officer or security guard needs extensive training to carry a gun in school, but the art teacher does not, is neither just nor reasonable,” the Ohio FOP wrote.

The brief was filed in support of the plaintiffs in the case Gabbard v. Madison Local School District Board of Education. The plaintiffs are parents of school-age children in a small town near Cincinnati who are challenging local school board policies to arm teachers or other school employees.

If the Ohio Supreme Court rules in favor of the parents, armed teachers would need peace officer training – a course for would-be law enforcement, which includes 737 hours of instruction. In Madison, the school district only required teachers to attend the 26-hour, three day FASTER training before carrying a firearm at school.

The dispute is over two conflicting laws in Ohio state code: one requiring anyone hired to act as armed security in a school to complete the state’s peace officer training program or have worked in law enforcement for 20 years. The other allowing a local school board to authorize any individual legally permitted to carry a firearm to bring one onto school grounds.

Supporters of the Madison school’s policy, including Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, argue much of the police training, such as on handling traffic stops, is unnecessary for teachers.

An appeals court sided with the parents, but the state Supreme Court allowed arming teachers to continue until they reach a decision.

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