Warren Local Schools votes to allow concealed firearms for teachers

VINCENT, Ohio (WTAP) - After last year’s mass school shooting school in Parkland, Florida, left 17 dead, the idea of arming teachers once again started circulating in education. It grabbed national headlines when President Donald Trump suggested the idea.

Warren Local Schools board of education voted Monday night approve the concealed arming of staff members.

"This was a long time study of looking into different programs," superintendent Kyle Newton said.

Newton says the district didn’t just rush into this decision to allow concealed carrying of firearms for selected faculty members, but rather began researching and looking at this option after Parkland.

“Last spring when Parkland happened and some of the other instances that have taken place," he added, "it was like we have to seriously consider this as an option as one piece of our overall safety plan.”

With both supporters and opponents of the idea, Newton stated it’s important for everyone to understand there are a number of requirements, both initial and ongoing, to become an armed staff member.

"I think once people start learning about the training that would be involved," he said. "You know it’s not everyone is carrying around, you know a weapon, brandishing it on their belt buckle."

Participation is voluntary and confidential. The person must have a concealed carry permit, must be approved by the district’s safety committee, take a drug test and go through multiple training programs.

“Monthly, quarterly and yearly training that goes on," Newton added. "You’ll have to fire so many rounds per month. You'll have to meet with our safety officer and the other individuals that are armed as well.”

And Newton admits as someone with 20 years in education and even a spouse as a teacher, this is something new for them.

"We’re not armed individuals," he said. "You know we’re here to teach kids.”

But Newton believes while this might not be an option or necessary for big cities, it should be considered in rural communities, where a quick response time from law enforcement could be 10 to 15 minutes.

“I'm going to make sure that the policy that we'll put in place is the best possible for our students," he added, 'and that it's just one small piece of a much greater safety plan so that we can protect our students from anything that might happen to them.”

Here are the requirements listed under an overview released from the district's office of the standard to participate as an armed staff member:
- Staff members participate on a voluntary basis.
- Staff members must apply and be approved annually by the Safety committee.
- Staff members will annually be drug tested and may be asked to participate in a physical to prove their fit for duty.
- Staff members will possess their conceal carry permit.
- Staff members will participate in the FASTER program.
- Staff members will be required to tactically fire 100 rounds per month.
- Staff members will be required to participate in monthly safety meetings that will be led by law enforcement.
- Staff members will be required to annually participate in intensive training.