Ohio lawmakers consider giving schools option to arm teachers

Alien Gear Holsters / Facebook / MGN
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Ohio school districts have always had the power to arm teachers if they so choose and a school board approves.

Mad River Local Schools paid to have 32 teachers armed with handguns last year. They also have bullet-proof vests.

The district said it doesn't have the money to pay for school resource officers so it chose to pay to have teachers trained through the Ohio Peace Officer Academy.

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The cost: $5,000 compared to $100,000 for school resource officers at all of its eight buildings. All the guns are locked in a safe.

"We think it's much better alternative than to just allow a teacher with a concealed carry permit to bring their weapon to school and have that on their person and our main concern was a student who could take that away from a teacher," says Jerry Jerry Ellender Chief Finacial Officer for Mad River Local School District.

Under House Bill 703 introduced Tuesday, school districts across Ohio would be permitted to not only arm teachers at their own expense but also install metal detectors.

The bill doesn't require anything, but simply permits districts to implement whichever option they want.

If they choose to do nothing, they must allow those with a concealed carry permit to enter a school.

"There are are a lot of parents, we don't want guns in schools I get that too, but right now there's nothing in place to stop someone from shooting up the place what's the plan if that happens are you going to throw books at someone or are you going to shoot back?" says State Representative John Becker (R-Clermont County) who sponsored the bill.

Gun-control proponents and teachers unions have suggested alternatives: Raise the age to buy guns. Expand mental health access. Ban assault-style weapons. Don’t make teachers do double duty as volunteer security guards.

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