Governor Mike Dewine signed House Bill 99 into law Monday paving the way for more teachers to be armed in schools.
The bill, which passed in the state senate last week, changes the requirements to be armed on school grounds from 700 hours to 24 hours.
It allocates around $6 million in funding to create a safety and crisis division within the Ohio School Safety Center.
In addition, it calls for a plan to deploy more than a dozen licensed officers to oversee emergency management training across 16 regions in the state.
School boards will now be able to choose to arm specific staff members and mandate what the governor's office called "reasonable training requirements."
State Rep. Thomas hall spearheaded the bill and was the primary sponsor.
“We are doing something to help protect the lives of our children and staff at schools here in Ohio,” Hall said in a press release.
“In Butler County, we dealt with this firsthand when my father who is a school resource officer at Madison High School chased a school shooter from the premises. With these emergencies, seconds matter and this legislation, today really matters.”
Governor DeWine said the main goal is to help schools get the tools they need to protect students and staff.
"Working together, we have come a long way to improve school safety in Ohio over the last decade, and we must continue this progress. We have an obligation to do everything we can every single day to try and protect our kids," DeWine said.
The bill has caused some controversy. The Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT) said this will make schools less safe.
"Allowing more guns in our schools, without the necessary training to ensure those guns are kept secure and are handled safely, will make our schools more dangerous and increase the likelihood that Ohio students, teachers, and school staff will be harmed," OFT President Melissa Cropper said.
DeWine's gubernatorial opponent, former Dayton mayor, and Ohio Democratic gubernatorial nominee, Nan Whaley accused DeWine of pandering to the gun lobby.
"He’s continued to show Ohioans that he cares more about the gun lobby that funds his campaigns and the Republican extremists than he does about keeping our children and our communities safe from gun violence," Whaley said.
The plan for the bill grew out of a shooting at Madison Junior-Senior High School in 2016. The district then allowed teachers and staff to be armed but got sued. The Supreme Court said they needed the same training as law enforcement. However, the new bill would change that.
The Governor said Tuesday he plans to sign a new cap budget for schools to allow more money for physical safety upgrades including safety visitor tracking systems, facility mapping, lighting and door locking.
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