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Ohio House sets guidelines for armed school employees

 
Ohio House sets guidelines for armed school employees
Posted January 22nd, 2014 @ 5:01pm by WTVN Newsroom

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) -- State lawmakers have okayed a bill that sets guidelines for schools that decide to arm employees. It was a 62-28 vote Wednesday.

House Bill 8 requires employees approved by the school board to carry weapons have training and a concealed carry license. The legislation also shields their names from the public with the only exception being law enforcement and the district's insurance company.

"No school may require an employee to carry a firearm as a part of their employment, nor is the topic of designating employees to carry a concealed weapon in the school subject to collective bargaining," said bill sponsor Rep. Kristina Roegner, a Republican from Hudson.

Safety protocols would also be developed with local law enforcement.

Current state law allows police officers to be armed in schools, but not off-duty officers. The bill would change that.

"They're trained in their firearm, they're trained to protect the public and they will be able to do so whether or not they are in their uniform," Roegner said.

But Democrats voiced their opposition with concerns about arming teachers.

"Teachers should not be asked to serve a dual role as educators and school safety personnel armed with weapons," said Rep. Teresa Fedor, a Democrat from Toledo.

Rep. Matt Lundy, an Elyria Democrat, worries that students could get caught up in the crossfire. He called the bill "playing Russian Roulette with the life of a child."

"When the bullets start to fly there's no guarantee that the bullets only hit the bad guy. For some reason we tend to think this is the movies, but this is, folks, real life," he said.

Employees that use their firearms within the protocols set in the school safety plan would also be immune from civil lawsuits.

The bill will now go to the Ohio Senate.

(Photo courtesy Getty Images)

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