OHIO — Some Ohio legislators want to lower the current requirements for school employees who carry firearms while on duty.
Currently, “No public or private educational institution * * * shall employ a person as a special police officer, security guard, or other position in which such person goes armed while on duty, who has not received a certificate of having satisfactorily completed an approved basic peace officer training program, unless the person has completed twenty years of active duty as a peace officer," according to court documents.
What You Need To Know
- The Ohio Supreme Court has yet to interpret the current law
- A part of HB 99 would give districts the ability to determine how much more training would be needed
- Ohio legislators could lower the peace officer training requirements for school employees to conceal carry on school grounds before the court makes a ruling
Rep. Thomas Hall (R), of Butler County, won’t ever forget 2016. He said one day while sitting in class on the campus of Miami University, his phone kept buzzing. It was messages from his mom.
“My mother's words, shooting at Madison, still sit with me to this day," Hall said.
Hall's since become a member of the Ohio Legislature and wants to make changes surrounding the training of armed teachers and staff.
Senate Bill 317, which stripped peace officer training requirements for school employees, passed the Ohio Senate, but never made it out of the Ohio House. Hall wants at least some minimum training requirements added to his new bill, House Bill 99. That's a challenge for some, as current law requires 728 hours.
In the first hearing, legislators learned how Hall’s father was the school resource officer on duty that day his mother messaged him. Reflecting on the day he got the messages, Hall said his mind quickly went to his father. After stepping out of his exam, he soon learned just how much of a role his father played.
“Luckily, my father, who had just left the school's lunchroom, was able to rush back to the lunchroom, and eight seconds to chase the shooter, out of the building and off the property where the offender was later apprehended," Hall said.
Hall’s father was trained to handle such situations.
“My version now revises the training requirements to be the same as a concealed carry permit holder," Hall explained.
School districts could then decide for themselves how much more training they'd like for their employees to have. Still, Rep. David Leland (D) of District 22 said, “Wouldn't it be better served to be looking at perhaps helping the schools financially, so that they can provide that kind of protection — the civic protection that we all want them to have? Wouldn't that be a better way of going about it than reducing the level of protection for these children?”
Hall pointed out that not every school can afford school resource officers. Plus, schools may want to allocate additional dollars toward other things that are needed. That's why he believes the minimum training requirement is the next best thing.
Full peace officer training is 728 hours and Hall doesn’t believe district employees who are not security personnel or police officers need every part. That's because some of it includes patrol, traffic and investigative training. Additional hearings on HB 99 are expected to continue after legislators return from break. As for the Ohio Supreme Court, they have at least three to four more months to interpret the current law and make a ruling on the matter of requiring peace officer training.