Ohio’s top court ruled Wednesday that teachers in the state can’t be armed with a gun unless they have gone through police training or have 20 years of experience as a peace officer.
The Ohio Supreme Court ruled 4-3 in its decision not to arm teachers following a 2018 resolution from the Madison School Board to arm designated teachers and staff “for the welfare and safety of [its] students,” according to court documents. The school board’s resolution was in response to a 2016 school shooting at Madison Junior/Senior High School that left four students injured.
While the school board required employees to undergo several training programs and have a concealed carry permit, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that teachers and other staff would instead need to go through police training or have 20 years of experience as a peace officer. Becoming a peace officer in Ohio currently require a physical fitness test and more than 730 hours of training.
Ohio law already requires any employee expected to perform security duties to have police training, a law Republican Gov. Mike DeWine had hoped to circumvent to allow school employees to carry firearms when he was state attorney general in 2013.
“Ohio law does not prevent 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 following the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting.
But Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, who wrote Wednesday’s opinion citing sections of the law that require peace officer training, said 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 go armed while on duty without also requiring that those employees satisfy the training-or-experience requirement under [the law], the resolution violates [the law],” O’Connor wrote.