Hamilton schools drop plan to arm staff

School board: Hamilton teachers will not be armed

HAMILTON, OH (FOX19) - The Hamilton City School District halted a plan to arm teachers and other staff members during the upcoming academic year.

The school board announced Tuesday said they want more information instead and time to see the outcome of a 1.5-mill, 10-year school security tax levy on the Nov. 6 ballot.

School leaders are still increasing security this year by hiring two additional school resource officers. Now the district will have an SRO in each school.

Schools also will continue to implement mental health services and make them accessible to all students.

Hamilton school board members said they are not completely rule out the possibility of arming teachers.

They directed the Superintendent Larry Knapp to gather more information on current non-teacher personnel in the district with military or law enforcement background.

Still, their decision upset Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones.

He accused the superintendent and school board of reneging on a promise he said Knapp made that the board would allow trained school staff members to carry firearms when the men privately met with Hamilton Police Chief Craig Bucheit earlier this year.

The sheriff has been so concerned over school safety in light of mass deadly shootings in Florida and Texas, he offered free firearm training for teachers and other school personnel over the winter.

He also recently took out a billboard blasting the Hamilton's school board and how it handles school security.

Now, the sheriff says he doesn't trust the school district and won't support their levy - and neither should the public.

"That levy is no more than a giant money grab," Jones told FOX19 NOW in a phone interview late Tuesday.

The sheriff's opinion carries weight among voters in Butler County. The four-term sheriff has so much political clout, he was asked to warm the crowd up before President Donald Trump spoke at a town hall meeting while campaigning in West Chester two years ago.

"They are going to make promises that schools will be safer if they pass this levy and take more of your money," Jones said.

"They have enough money already and they have a terrible issue with transparency. The public and sheriff doesn't trust them."

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