BELLBROOK, Ohio (WDTN) — The Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Board of Education is hoping to make schools safer with a new active shooter response team. The board voted Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022 to create a committee that would come up with a process to implement this new team.
Mike Kinsey, a member of the school board, said the response team will be made up of volunteer teachers and staff members.
“Nobody will be forced. Nobody will be coerced in any way. A volunteer will choose to submit some type of an application, and go through a multi-step interview process,” Kinsey explained.
Applicants will have to go through an extensive background check and mental health screening. If they are approved, they can move on to the firearms training. While the state only requires a minimum of 24 hours of training to carry a gun in schools, Kinsey said they are going to require a minimum of 40 hours.
“Realizing the fact that we’ve learned that 40 hours of firearms training is what it takes for someone to be armed as a court officer, a bailiff, a probation officer,” Kinsey said.
Kinsey also said these volunteers will have to complete annual training to stay on the team as well as pass the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy live-fire qualification test every year.
This plan did not come without criticism, though. During Thursday’s meeting, several school personnel and community members expressed their concerns with arming teachers. Kinsey said the board is taking everyone’s thoughts into consideration, and they plan to work together as a district to come up with the best plan.
“We are here to say that no teacher will be carrying a firearm on their person in classrooms. We’re going to have all firearms be securely and safely stored, and at all times be inaccessible to all unauthorized individuals,” Kinsey said.
The Active Shooter Response Team Implementation Committee still needs to be formed. At a minimum, it will be made up officers from the Bellbrook Police Department and the Sugarcreek Township Police Department, along with the Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Superintendent, and no more than two school board members.