Ohio Rural School District Permits Select Teachers and Staff to Carry Firearms

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The superintendent of a school district in rural Ohio said that each of the four schools will have at least one armed member of staff.

In a recent Marion Star interview, Superintendent Adam Wickham, of the River Valley School District, located in Caledonia (Ohio), about an hour northeast of Columbus, confirmed this new policy.

Wickham stated that “our schools will no longer be unprotected and soft targets.” Most active shooter incidents occur in areas that are ‘gun-free zones’ or have minimal safety measures. We want to make sure our schools are not soft targets.

Wickham said that it is important to have armed personnel in every school in Caledonia. This is because the village may be too remote for law enforcement officers in case of an active shooter.

Wickham said that rural communities can be on the front lines of an active shooter within minutes. The use of armed personnel in our buildings could potentially save lives because it would allow for a quicker response to a threat.

Wickham stated that in order to “ensure staff and students are able to go home safely each day, Wickham will ensure each school district has at least one armed staff or teacher. This includes two elementary schools, a middle school, and a high school. Teachers and staff who are designated to carry firearms on the River Valley campus must undergo 24 hours of training according to a new law.

In June of last year, Governor Mike DeWine signed House Bill 99, which allows individual school districts to decide whether or not they want armed personnel on their campuses. The bill was opposed by every Democrat and nearly all Republicans in the Ohio House of Senate.

Since the law was passed, 22 out of 611 school districts within the state of Ohio now have armed staff. River Valley is now number 23. Wickham says that although some parents have reservations about the policy, the majority of people in the community support it.

“The vast majority of parents have expressed appreciation for the proactive approach in protecting their children,” Wickham claimed. “That is really a main reason for adopting the use of armed staff.”