Ohio education organizations urge Governor DeWine to veto House Bill 99
COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVG) - The Presidents of the Ohio Education Association (OEA) and the Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT) are urging Governor DeWine to veto House Bill 99.
HB 99 was passed in the General Assembly on Wednesday. The legislation, if passed by Governor DeWine, would gut training requirements for teachers and other school staff who are authorized to carry guns in school buildings. According to HB 99, a teacher would only need 24 hours of training total to be able to carry a gun.
OEA President, Scott DiMauro and OFT President, Melissa Cropper released a joint statement urging Governor DeWine to veto the bill. According to DiMauro and Cropper, they believe 24 hours of training is not enough and that HB 99 will make Ohio’s students less safe in schools.
DiMauro and Cropper also mention a Jan. 28, 2014 article from the Dayton Daily News where Governor DeWine, who was serving as the Attorney General at the time, voiced his opinion on how important training is for an armed teacher.
In the article, DeWine said “It’s not just about can I [armed school staff] shoot a gun. That’s just a small part of it. It’s: Do I have enough training to be able to react so that my training goes into effect, and I don’t end up shooting someone who’s innocent?”
DiMauro and Cropper say that more work has to be done on HB 99 before it should be passed.
You can read the full statement below.
“In the wake of the tragic school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, Ohio lawmakers are rushing
to take action to address school safety concerns in our state. The Ohio Education
Association and the Ohio Federation of Teachers want to be clear: House Bill 99 will
make Ohio’s students less safe in their schools.
The safety of Ohio’s students and educators is our utmost priority, but we know putting
more guns into school buildings in the hands of people who have woefully inadequate
training—regardless of their intentions—is dangerous and irresponsible. Teachers and
other school employees should not be asked to serve dual roles as educators and
school safety personnel armed with weapons, but, if they are, rigorous training
standards, as set under current Ohio law, are essential. House Bill 99 guts those
requirements, capping the state training requirements at 24 hours and putting educators
in the impossible position of making split-second life-and-death decisions without
sufficient training. This could undoubtedly lead to more tragedies in our schools.
Governor DeWine has acknowledged this himself. When he served as Attorney General,
he stated, “It’s not just about can I [armed school staff] shoot a gun. That’s just a small
part of it. It’s: Do I have enough training to be able to react so that my training goes into
effect, and I don’t end up shooting someone who’s innocent?” (Dayton Daily News, Jan.
28, 2014). He then asked the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission to develop
recommendations for appropriate training for school personnel, and the model
curriculum was set at approximately 150 hours of training. We now ask the governor,
what has changed that would make you say 24 hours of training is enough to arm
educators today? The answer is nothing has changed. Twenty-four hours is not enough.
Our students need to be in safe learning environments where they can focus on getting
a world-class education; they should not have to worry about what could happen with a
gun in the hands of an undertrained individual in their classrooms with them. More work
is needed on House Bill 99, and more work is needed by the Ohio legislature to address
the needs of our students and educators, like prioritizing mental health resources and
enacting common sense gun safety reform. We strongly urge Gov. DeWine to do the
right thing and veto House Bill 99.”
Gov. DeWine thanked lawmakers for passing the bill on Wednesday, saying he plans to sign it into law.
“Last week I called on the General Assembly to pass a bill that would allow local school districts, if they so chose, to designate armed staff for school security and safety. My office worked with the General Assembly to remove hundreds of hours of curriculum irrelevant to school safety and to ensure training requirements were specific to a school environment and contained significant scenario-based training. House Bill 99 accomplishes these goals, and I thank the General Assembly for passing this bill to protect Ohio children and teachers. I look forward to signing this important legislation.”
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