If We Are Going to Arm Teachers in Schools, Perhaps the Police Should Teach the Classes?
OHIO — July 18, 2018
Hamilton school officials made announcement they are considering providing school teachers and staffers with firearms as part of a security overhaul. On July 18 in the wake of the announcement, Hamilton Police together with school officials co-sponsored a public forum to gauge opinions on adding armed school staffers to the 10,000-student city school system.
And this not the first event of its kind. Recently the district held an active shooter training as part of its security preparation upgrades for the coming school year.
Potentially arming school staffers will next be the focus of a public town hall meeting tonight in Hamilton. It has become the most discussed topic throughout Butler County school systems this summer and for good reason, said Larry Knapp, the school system's superintendent.
Knapp hopes the public’s concerns and ideas for improving school security will be shared with school officials and Hamilton Police.
Officials look “to continue to gather our community’s input into the possible arming of school personnel for the purpose of a safer and secure school environment for everyone,” said Knapp.
“So far we have received input from parents, students, school staff members, and business leaders and all of this information will be shared with the Board of Education so they can make an informed decision with this proposal,” he added.
“With this meeting we hope to gather more information from district residents on Wednesday night, as we all work together with local, county, and state level safety and security responders and officials to improve our district’s comprehensive safety plan”.
Hamilton Police Chief Craig Bucheit said “this is a very important issue.”
Bucheit, who will attend the meeting, said the event represents how the city “is coming together as a community to figure out how to provide the best safety and security for our schools.”
Currently Hamilton Schools use armed officers at its schools as do all other school districts in the county.
Some contend however, those officers may not be enough or may not be stationed throughout a school building in such a way that they can react quickly in case of an armed attack.
Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones has been sharply critical of Hamilton’s past security plans and last month took the extraordinary step of using private money to post a billboard downtown questioning the school board’s priorities toward keeping schools safe.
In response, Hamilton school officials announced they are now considering arming some school employees who qualify.
Moreover, about half of Butler County’s 10 school districts are moving closer to putting a new type of school levy, which Ohio lawmakers approved to be put on the fall ballot for funding school security.
Knapp said Wednesday evening’s meeting will also gather public input on how to proceed should that levy win voter approval.
“The information gathered will also help us in allocating and prioritizing our resources if we are fortunate enough to garner the community’s support of the countywide school safety levy being decided at the November election,” he said.
Several years ago the people of Ohio could not even imagine that officials would seriously consider arming school staffers-- let’s hope nobody proposes arming the students when the next election comes along.
If we support the idea of arming teachers instead of relying on police in order to guarantee students safety, perhaps we should also have the police teach students while the teachers protect them?