NEW CARLISLE, Ohio (WDTN) – Following the school shooting in Texas, school districts in the Miami Valley are evaluating the security and safety policies they have in place.
Less than a day after a deadly school shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, students at Tecumseh Local Schools arrived and left with extra security in place.
“We have our school resource officer who is always present, but we also have additional Clark County sheriff deputies in district,” Tecumseh Superintendent Paula Crew said. “They’re here in the morning for arrival and here at dismissal just making sure our students navigate to and from school.”
On May 13, the district held training to prepare for a situation like what happened in Texas. District staff, teachers and administration went through reunification, ALICE and Stop the Bleed training hoping they never have to use it.
“We just take proactive measures and have all systems in place that we possibly can ahead of time to minimize any damage or loss that we would have,” Crew said.
At Mad River Local Schools, the board of education passed a policy in 2017 that allowed 30 staff members to be highly trained and armed in their school buildings.
“It’s critical for us to have that,” Mad River Superintendent Chad Wyen said. “I think what happened to us in Texas calls attention to the need to have every layer of protection that you can for school safety within schools.”
An Ohio Supreme Court decision struck down a district’s ability to arm teachers, putting Mad River’s policy on pause. Now districts are waiting on the Ohio Senate to pass House Bill 99 to reverse that decision.
Legislative Affairs Director Rob Sexton for the Buckeye Firearms Association, which supports the passage of House Bill 99, said this bill could make a difference in saving lives.
“The faster that an attacker is confronted by someone armed, the more lives are saved,” Sexton said. “I think that is the crux of House Bill 99. We would just like to give the innocent folks – both teachers, faculty, staff and, of course, the kids – just a chance to survive such tragedy.”
“We really need our senators to take action in the state of Ohio and get this to the governor’s desk in order to reinstate our team,” Wyen said.
Both districts said it also takes help from students and parents to keep schools safe by watching for anything that doesn’t seem right.
“If you see something, say something,” Tecumseh Local Schools Director of Facilities and Safety Brian Dixon said. “If we don’t know about it, it makes it hard to address issues. Whether that be online, in person, anywhere in between, we encourage people if they see something, say something.”
Crew said Tecumseh has also just contracted their fourth mental health counselor to catch red flags and help students before a tragedy even takes place.