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Court ruling may affect school employees’ ability to carry weapons

Published: Jun. 26, 2021 at 6:18 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ohio (WTAP) - The Ohio Supreme Court this past week ruled that school districts must provide police-level training to employees carrying concealed weapons.

The state high court ruled 4-3 Wednesday that armed school employees must undergo an approved basic peace-officer-training program or have 20 years experience as a police officer.

The ruling means even some special training school employees had to carry weapons may not be enough to satisfy state law.

Two Washington County school districts, Warren and Frontier, allow their employees, with training, to carry weapons.

“Whatever requirements are placed on schools in order to arm staff, we’ll have to look at those to make sure we implement them correctly,” Warren Superintendent Kyle Newton told us. “If there are some kind of rules or regulations we haven’t done with our staff, we’ll have to make sure our staff gets up to them, if that’s the direction we go.”

The Ohio Legislature reportedly is considering bills to set new guidelines for school employees to carry weapons. None is near passage.

The Supreme Court’s ruling does not affect schools having resource officers: designated police officers or deputies assigned to school buildings.

In Washington County, there are also special outposts located near some schools.

“Instead of stopping at the office, they can go to the schools, and they provide an office for us,” says Chief Deputy Mark Warden of the Washington County Sheriff’s office. “Our presence at the schools, we try to ramp up as much as possible for that reason.”

With another school year approaching, Superintendent Newton doesn’t believe there’s much chance, at least at the outset, employees will be able to arm themselves.

“There will probably be a period where our staff is not armed. But we have a (School Resource Officer) in our buildings, so we’re very confident of the security we have on campus, for our students.”

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