Ohio school to arm janitors, receives support from parents
A school in Ohio will arm janitors after its board raised the issue for a vote Wednesday. Officials from the school that will arm four janitors said the community members hold the second amendment close to their hearts.
A rural¬†school¬†district in¬†Ohio¬†is drawing attention with its plans to arm a handful of its non-teaching employees with handguns this year ‚ÄĒ perhaps even janitors.
Four employees in the Montpelier¬†schools¬†have agreed to take a weapons training course and carry their own¬†guns¬†inside the district's one building, which houses 1,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade,¬†school¬†officials said.
"It's kind of a sign of the times," Superintendent Jamie Grime said Friday.
The Toledo Blade reported that the employees were janitors, but¬†school¬†officials would not confirm that to The Associated Press, saying only that they are employees who don't have direct supervision over the students in the northwest¬†Ohio¬†district.
The four employees who will carry¬†guns¬†all volunteered to take part, Grime said. The¬†school¬†plans to pay for them to attend a two-day training course.
"Putting a firearm in a¬†school¬†is a huge step," Grime said. "We're going to do it properly. These people need the proper training."
The move comes as districts and lawmakers across the nation weigh how to protect students following the¬†school¬†massacre in Newtown, Conn., and after the National Rifle Association called for an armed officer in every U.S.¬†school. The gunman in Newtown used a rifle to kill 20 students and six educators.
Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst called Friday for state-funded, specialized firearms training for teachers and administrators.¬†Schooldistricts would decide who would carry weapons but not be required to participate, and training would include how to react during a shooting.
Residents in a Dayton,¬†Ohio, suburb crowded into a¬†school¬†meeting this week to talk about whether staff members and teachers should be armed. Reaction was mixed, according to The Dayton Daily News.
"We need more good guys with¬†guns. That's the sad reality of the situation," said Jim Rigano, a Springboro¬†school¬†board member.
Other states are trying clamp down on¬†gun¬†sales and bans on assault rifles.
In Montpelier,¬†school¬†officials began reviewing security plans after Newtown and decided teachers should not be armed because their first priority in an emergency should be locking doors and protecting students, Grime said. The¬†school¬†already has security cameras and locked doors, and requires visitors to be buzzed into the front entrance.
The proposal was not announced until just before the board voted unanimously Wednesday to arm a select group of employees after consulting with the local police chief and attorneys who reviewed¬†Ohio's¬†concealed carry law. The law prohibits¬†guns¬†inschools¬†except in a few cases, and allows education boards to authorize someone to carry a¬†gun¬†inside¬†schools.
No members of the public spoke out on the measure at the meeting, board President Larry Martin told the Blade. Grime said three people attended.
A letter was sent out to parents after the vote. Only three complained, while close to 150 called or sent emails supporting the idea in Montpelier, a remote city of about 4,000 residents along Interstate 80 near the convergence of¬†Ohio, Michigan and Indiana.
"It's a place where people hold the Second Amendment close to their hearts," the superintendent said.