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

Published: Feb. 26, 2018 at 3:22 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 28, 2018 at 8:09 AM EST
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HAMILTON, OH (FOX19) - Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones greeted teachers and other school personnel attending his agency's first concealed handgun training class for them Monday.

A nurse and occupational therapist were among the teachers in the class.

"Every time I get told teachers don't want to take these classes, I don't see it to be true. This concealed carry is just the beginning," Jones told them during the 4-minute Facebook Live video on his agency's page. It's already generated 9,600 views and 129 shares.

"In Butler County, school boards can give you the authority to carry a concealed weapon into the class if they choose a certain amount of people. But it takes the school boards to do that."

Jones told the class a story about his daughter, a mother of three children, he has repeated multiple times over the past week as he explained what prompted him to offer firearm instruction for them.

"She comes to my house every time there is a shooting and cries," he said.

A school shooting normally lasts about four minutes while police response takes longer, six to eight minutes, he told the class, adding: "We've got to do something."

The outspoken Republican sheriff announced earlier this month he would hold free concealed carry instruction for educators. His controversial decision, made in a simple three-line tweet, came in the days after the Parkland, Florida mass school shooting that killed 17 students and teachers and wounded several others.

Expecting a small response, Jones was surprised sign-ups quickly exploded and he had to cap it off at 300.

Shortly after, President Donald Trump announced he wanted a low percentage in each school of "highly trained" teachers with military or law enforcement backgrounds to carry guns. Those who do should receive a monetary bonus, he said.

In Butler County, the sheriff said 140 teachers will be trained by week's end. That includes a Saturday class and next Saturday's class of another 50 is booked, too.

Related story: Firearm training for teachers starts Monday

The first session Monday was closed to the press. Most local and and several national media outlets asked to attend, but Jones declined and agreed to live stream at least a portion of it instead.

His video does not show the teachers' faces. They were shown from behind only.

Instructors who complete the 12-hour training that includes at least two hours at a live firing range, however, won't be able to start taking guns into their classrooms.

So far, none of the school boards in the county are planning on permitting it, though Jones has been urging those who support it to let elected officials know.  He also has been speaking with school boards and other elected officials.

He told Monday's class there are about 240 school districts in the country who allow some staff to carry weapons, after extensive training.

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

Before Jones' proposal to start training and arming teachers, no Edgewood school employees had completed such training and was carrying weapons in school buildings, at least that FOX19 NOW knew of.

When we asked a district spokeswoman about it last week to see if that was still the case, she declined to discuss it, citing security privacy concerns.

Lakota and Hamilton school boards held meetings Monday and Tuesday nights, but no decisions were made.

At both meetings, residents turned out at the sheriff's urging via tweets telling them to go. Several told the school board members they were in favor of arming educators, but some parents expressed concern.

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