BUTLER COUNTY, OH (FOX19) - A teacher who has his permit to carry a concealed weapon says arming teachers is an important step in protecting students in the classroom.
The discussion of arming teachers is ongoing in Butler County and across the nation in light of the deadly Florida mass school shooting that killed 17 people, mostly students.
Sheriff Richard Jones will begin holding Carrying a Concealed Weapon classes for teachers Monday.
Since his announcement, 300 teachers signed up. He says they could have kept going and had 500 enrolled.
Everyone we spoke with Thursday said something has to be done to keep students safe, but how varies.
Some say arming teachers is just one of many needed changes.
Teacher Colin Bullard already has his CCW permit. He tells FOX19 NOW he thinks this is an important step in protecting students in the classroom.
Bullard stays locked and loaded everywhere he goes.
But his firearm stays at home when he heads into the classroom to teach. Now he wants that to change.
"I'm a science teacher. In my classroom, I have a fire extinguisher, eye washes and in an emergency, I'm expected to put out the fire until the first responders get there so I don't see how this would be any different," he said.
He did not want FOX19 NOW to mention what school he works for but says overall it is a safe environment. The doors remained locked and several safety procedures are in place.
But it's not enough, he says.
"It's not uncommon for students to open doors for their friends or even strangers that walk up. The weakest link in the chain of security pretty much subverts all the other links in the chain," he said.
School security and whether to arm teachers has been debated in the wake of the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
A former student gunned down 17 students, teachers, coaches and others. He fled but was later apprehended.
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel announced Thursday the armed and uniformed school resource officer waited outside for four minutes and did "nothing" as the gunman opened fire. He never went inside to try to stop the shooting.
The deputy, a veteran law enforcement officer, was put on unpaid leave amid an investigation into his actions and resigned, the sheriff said.
He should have gone in "addressed the killer, killed the killer," the sheriff said at a news conference, adding that the deputy's actions left him feeling "devastated, sick to my stomach. There are no words. These families lost their children. We lost coaches."
Some parents say guns are the problem.
Arming teachers and staff is not the main fix, Bullard said, but it would add another level of security.
Some teachers tell FOX19 NOW mental illness is another major issue to be addressed.
Spotting warning signs earlier is key in protecting students, they said.