Armed Madison (Ohio) Teachers Must Have Police-Level Training, Court Rules

A group of parents sued Madison Local Schools for its concealed weapons policy which only required 26 hours of training for armed teachers and staff.

Armed Madison (Ohio) Teachers Must Have Police-Level Training, Court Rules

Armed teachers and staff at an Ohio school district must have police levels of training, an appeals court ruled Monday.

Several parents whose children are students at Madison Local Schools sued the district in September 2018 over its concealed weapons policy, which only requires 26 hours of training for armed staff. Police-level training in Ohio requires 728 hours.

The school’s concealed weapons policy was passed after a 14-year-old student opened fire at Madison Junior/Senior High School in 2016. Two students were shot and two others sustained injuries from shrapnel. The student gunman was convicted of attempted murder and sent to a juvenile detention center until he turns 21.

The parents, who are represented in part by Everytown for Gun Safety, appealed Butler County Common Pleas Judge Charles Pater’s decision against them to the 12th District Court of Appeals a year ago, reports Journal News. Pater had ruled teachers and other staff are not peace officers and therefore do not require police levels of training.

Two out of three appeals court judges ruled against Pater, stating the district cannot circumvent state law and therefore must halt its program until more rigorous training is completed. The third judge disagreed, finding school officials complied with the law based on his understanding of the statute.

“There is no doubt that the parties in this action care deeply about protecting Madison school children while they are on school grounds. I applaud Madison Local for trying to take immediate steps to ensure the safety of their students,” Judge Robert A. Hendrickson wrote in the decision. “However, such immediate steps must comply with the law. (The law) as it is currently written, sets forth the parameters that school boards must follow when employing armed individuals in their schools. This court cannot ignore the requirements.”

While the ruling only applies to Madison Local, Everytown for Gun Safety said the decision calls into question the legality of armed teachers in school districts throughout Ohio, many of whom have been provided similar training, according to Dispatch.

School officials are considering appealing the decision.

“While this policy has received a substantial amount of attention, it is just one of the many steps that the district has taken to ensure student safety,” said Superintendent Lisa Tuttle-Huff. “We are considering and exploring all of our options moving forward, including, if necessary, asking the Ohio Supreme Court to intervene.”

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Amy is Campus Safety’s Senior Editor. Prior to joining the editorial team in 2017, she worked in both events and digital marketing.

Amy’s mother, brother, sister-in-law and a handful of cousins are teachers, motivating her to learn and share as much as she can about campus security. She has a minor in education and has worked with children in several capacities, further deepening her passion for keeping students safe.

In her free time, Amy enjoys exploring the outdoors with her husband, her son and her dog.

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5 responses to “Armed Madison (Ohio) Teachers Must Have Police-Level Training, Court Rules”

  1. Allan Kidd says:

    What is covered in the LEO level course that is not covered in the 26 hour course and is needed for an armed teacher in the classroom? I can imagine the LEO course covers traffic and a number of other topics that are not needed by the teachers. In 26 hours you could cover quite a lot about use of force requirements, de-escalation and marksmanship.

  2. Brandon Knutson says:

    This article maybe a little misleading on the amount of firearms training a police officer receives in Ohio. For example in Washington State the basic LE academy is 720 hours total, of which 88 hours is for firearms training. In Washington to arm a school employee, they must have the same 88 hours or greater of firearms training. Ohio officers do not receive 728 hours of firearms training.

  3. Ken Rhodes says:

    Make no mistake, Everytown for Gun Safety’s agenda is the elimination of all weapons held publicly by, like with all liberals, the ends justify the means.
    Armed teachers must be taught de-escalation techniques like verbal judo, less-lethal modalities, weapon retention. In NC, LEOs take 620 contact hours of basic police academy training plus 40 annual in-service hours minimum which is more like 80-120 hours depending on the LEO’s assigned area. SRO’s by statute must be certified through courseware and testing. Lethal force should be the last resort, not the first default; SRO’s and all LEO’s know and live this. Students who pose a threat clearly exhibit warming signs long before an event.
    The sad part is many school districts are more concerned with optics and per-diem compensation from the state than exposing and dealing with emotionally disturbed students. Don’t think so? Does your school let K-9’s sniff lockers for contraband narcotics?
    School administrators walk a fine line between getting troubled students help or destroying their career potentials. Parents have zero recourse to what school personnel put in a student’s file. And there are a small percentage of teachers and guidance counselors in their positions by seniority or tenure rather than performance; just biding time to their retirement. Not all, in fact the majority of excellent, dedicated educators positively influence a student’s potential but the weak should find other work opportunities to contribute and be weeded out.
    Schools should better utilize their SRO’s and social services. It only takes one person to reach a troubled student. It’s about what is right, not who is right. Everytown for Gun Safety has an agenda.

  4. Ken Rhodes says:

    Follow on comments pending editorial review..

    Lethal force is the last resort, not the first default.

    All LEO’s must pass an annual firearms requalification at the range.

    Weapon retention education is an absolute must. I am not a fan of untrained teachers having weapons as most teachers work in their classroom silo and do not train to function as a cohesive offensive/ offensive team. Better to have more than one SRO even if the school district funds the second or third SRO.

  5. Brandon Knutson says:

    Ken, It’s my thought that school staff do not need the additional non-firearms training that a LEO receives. My reasoning is that their role by being armed is only to stop the active assailant. This is done one of two ways depending on their capabilities; hunting down the assailant, or ambushing the assailant. At this point in the event it’s too late for de-escalation and non-lethal tactics. I agree with your comments on more prevention, but prevention can’t stop every potential active assailant. Stay well.

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