NewsLocal NewsButler County


Butler County Sheriff encourages schools to arm teachers, 'rebukes' comments by President Biden

Sheriff Richard Jones
Posted at 12:29 PM, May 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-26 16:10:12-04

HAMILTON, Ohio — Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones issued a press release on Thursday stating "Sheriff Jones rebukes President Biden's statement that the 'Second Amendment is not absolute.'"

Jones also held a Thursday afternoon press conference encouraging schools to arm personnel.

President Biden made those comments during a press conference on Wednesday while speaking about the May 24 school shooting in Uvalde, TX that left 19 children and 2 adults dead.

During his address, President Biden said he spent his political career, including his time as Vice President, advocating for "common sense gun reforms."

"As I said as a senator and as Vice President, while they clearly will not prevent every tragedy, we know certain ones will have significant impact and have no negative impact on the Second Amendment," said President Biden. "The Second Amendment is not absolute. When it was passed, you couldn't own a cannon, you couldn't own certain kinds of weapons. There's just always been limitations."

In his press release, Jones said he "refuses to enforce any federal or state executive order changing the Second Amendment," despite the President having never announced plans for an executive order. During President Biden's speech, he did not suggest what "common sense gun reforms" he was in favor of, nor did he announce any specific legislation or policy changes planned for the future.

Jones' press release also said he will offer free firearms training to teachers and "strongly encourages schools to arm teachers and hire more School Resource Officers."

"I'm encouraging school boards to put armed personnel in the school, plus teachers," said Jones during the press conference. "Not every teacher, or it can be a janitor, it can be someone who works in the school, it's up to the school boards."

The debate around arming teachers in schools has arisen in discussions after many school shootings and is one that's been consistently had in schools throughout Butler County.

In 2018, after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. left 17 dead, multiple Butler County school districts examined the possibility of allowing teachers to carry guns within schools.

Hamilton City Schools announced in June 2018 they would allow "qualified staffers" to come to school armed for the upcoming fall semester, but the district unanimously reversed the decision in August, before the start of the school year.

Madison City Schools in Middletown voted to allow teachers and staff to be armed at school in April 2018, which sparked a years-long legal battle over the amount of training those staffers should have in order to be allowed guns in school.

Parents sued the district the following September, alleging the board’s April resolution authorizing armed staff in schools violated an Ohio law requiring that armed school employees be trained and certified as peace officers.

In February 2019, a Butler County judge ruled district staffers did not need the same 700-plus hours of training required by peace officers under Ohio law; Madison Schools were requiring just 27 hours of training. Then, in June 2021, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled staffers in the district were required to follow Ohio state law and complete the advanced peace officer training, or have been a peace officer themselves for at least 20 years.

This ruling meant schools throughout Ohio that already implemented allowances for teachers and staff to carry guns had to force staffers to holster their weapons until they'd completed the state-approved training. That ruling is still relevant to discussions surrounding arming teachers in 2022, because it hasn't been reversed.

Watch Live:

WCPO 9 News Headlines