RIVERSIDE, Ohio (WDTN) – Ohio’s law that allows school districts to arm teachers is now in effect, but districts in the Miami Valley are still waiting on approval from the state that will let them reactivate their teams.
Mad River Local Schools is one district waiting for the O.K. to reactivate their armed response team, which was formed in 2016. The team was put on hold in 2021 by the Ohio Supreme Court.
“We realized that by the time our first responders can get to our building in the event of an active shooting event, typically that event’s going to be over with,” Mad River Local Schools Superintendent Chad Wyen said.
Wyen said his district’s training protocol to arm staff is already submitted to the Ohio School Safety Center.
Under House Bill 99, Ohio is developing a plan that requires 20 hours of training to arm school personnel, or districts can submit their own plans for approval.
Even as Mad River Locals Schools wait, Wyen said the team’s training hasn’t stopped.
“We’ve really established some very rigorous training protocols for our team, and we do train all the time,” Wyen said.
Sidney City Schools is also waiting to reactive its team.
“The law is now in effect, it’s not like they haven’t had time to kind of review this, so I’m a little disappointed that the state is so far behind in this,” Humble said.
Humble said his district has other security measures in place, including School Resource Officers, but the sooner the district’s training is approved, the safer it will be.
“We hope we never, ever have to activate our team, but we know that our teams are very well trained by our county sheriff’s department, and we know that we’ll do whatever necessary to stop anyone from harming our kids,” Humble said.
St. Marys City Schools in Auglaize County held a school safety meeting with parents last week to discuss the protocols they have in place. The meeting stems from parents reaching out with concerns following the school shooting in Uvalde.
Superintendent Bill Ruane said arming teachers has been in discussion for around five years. The topic came up again during last week’s meeting. Ruane said with House Bill 99, the board of education may move forward this time.
“Overwhelmingly, they have been getting people in favor of the measure, so they will look to look at the measure, have some more discussion at our next board meeting,” Ruane said.
2 NEWS reached out to the Ohio School Safety Center for a comment. The request was sent to the Ohio Department of Public Safety, and a representative said state is working quickly to develop its curriculum. Once it is finalized, any alternate curriculum submitted by districts will go through an approval process.