School district where student shot classmates allows arming teachers

Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones greets teachers and other school workers at free firearm training his agency held Feb. 26. (Photo: Butler County Sheriff's Office Facebook page)
Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones greets teachers and other school workers at free firearm training his agency held Feb. 26. (Photo: Butler County Sheriff's Office Facebook page)

MADISON TOWNSHIP, OH (FOX19) - The school district where a student opened fire two years ago, shooting two students, is now allowing teachers and other staff members to bring guns into classrooms.

The Madison Local School Board unanimously passed the measure Tuesday night.

The ability of teachers and other school staff to be prepared and equipped to defend and protect students "is essential in creating and preserving a proper learning environment," their ordinance states.

Teachers and other staff members must receive written permission first from the superintendent and "must be permitted under Ohio law to carry a concealed handgun and must undergo response to active shooter training and re-certify each year prior to being authorized to convey and/or possess deadly weapons" in the school safety zone, the ordinance stipulates.

The Madison Board of Education released a statement, which said:

"This resolution is the first step in a plan for the district to participate in the FASTER Saves Lives program. The FASTER program, which stands for Faculty/Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response, consists of a 26-hour program focused on armed response, crisis management, and emergency medical aid."

The vote comes after 14-year-old Austin Hancock shot two students in the cafeteria at Madison Junior-Senior High School in February 2016.

"It's a great start," said Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones.

The outspoken law enforcement official has advocated for years for teachers and school staff to be able to take guns into classrooms to protect themselves and students.

Jones and his deputies responded to Madison Junior-Senior School the morning of the shooting and that only affirmed his beliefs.

Then 17 students and staff members were gunned down in a mass school shooting in Florida earlier this year, sending his daughter to his home in tears over fears for her own children each time she sends them off to class.

That prompted the sheriff to take action. He offered free firearm instruction for teachers and other school staff and made national headlines when it drew overwhelming response with 300 educators signing up in a day.

VIDEO: 'We've got to do something' Sheriff greets teachers at gun training

He launched a social media campaign to encourage parents and other community members to appear before their school boards and urge them to permit employees to take weapons into buildings.

About 240 school districts in the country allow some staff to carry weapons, after extensive training, according to the sheriff.

Edgewood schools in Butler County's Trenton is one of them - but only for professional staff members and, in addition to holding a concealed carry license, they also must first pass several hours of additional training.

So far, no other school districts in Butler County have indicated they have any plans to allow staff members to carry weapons into classrooms.

But Jones said he plans to keep pressure on them to follow Madison's lead.

He said he plans to rent billboards soon to call out school boards on safety, once the May primary is over and candidates aren't using them to promote their campaigns.

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