's highest court ruled on Wednesday that teachers in the state cannot be armed with a gun
unless they have received police
training or have 20 years of peace officer experience.
According to court documents, the Ohio Supreme Court
ruled 4-3 not to arm teachers in response to a 2018 resolution from the Madison
School Board to arm designated teachers and staff “for the welfare and safety of [its] students,” which was in response to a 2016 school shooting
at Madison Junior/Senior High School
that injured four students.
While the school board required employees to complete several training programs and obtain a concealed carry permit, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that teachers and other staff would instead need to complete police training or have 20 years of experience as a peace officer. Becoming a peace officer in Ohio currently requires a physical fitness
test and more than 730 hours of training.
Any employee expected to perform security
duties in Ohio is already required to have police training, a law
Gov. Mike DeWine
hoped to circumvent when he was state attorney general in 2013.
“Ohio law does not prohibit a local school board from arming an employee unless that employee’s duties rise to the level that he/she would be considered ‘security personnel,’” DeWine argued in a letter to the chairman of the Buckeye Firearms Association in the aftermath of the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting.
However, Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor, who wrote the opinion on Wednesday and cited sections of the law requiring peace officer training, stated that the law “does not provide schools
with a mechanism to circumvent that requirement.”
“Because the board’s April
2018 resolution purports to authorize certain school employees to carry firearms while on duty without also requiring those employees to satisfy the training-or-experience requirement under [the law], the resolution violates [the law,” O’Connor wrote.