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Local school officials weigh in on teachers carrying guns

Posted at 6:09 PM, Feb 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-22 18:57:41-05

CINCINNATI -- President Trump has called for arming teachers, and a local politician is offering educators free concealed carry classes. But some local school officials aren’t sure if arming teachers is the best approach. 

Amid Florida’s deadly school shooting, Trump on Thursday suggested offering bonuses to teachers who get gun training, CNN reported. 

"These people are cowards. They're not going to walk into a school if 20% of the teachers have guns -- it may be 10% or may be 40%. And what I'd recommend doing is the people that do carry, we give them a bonus. We give them a little bit of a bonus," Trump said. "They'll frankly feel more comfortable having the gun anyway. But you give them a little bit of a bonus."

Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones tweeted over the weekend that he’d offer free concealed carry classes for teachers. He said 300 people have signed up so far. 

But in Ohio, whether teachers can carry firearms is a decision for each district. Edgewood City Schools in Trenton adopted a concealed carry policy in 2013, according to the Dayton Daily News. 

A concealed carry class includes about eight hours of instruction. About 25 percent of the class is actually firing the weapon. 

Trainer Jim Hardman, of Premier Shooting in West Chester, said concealed carry classes would be a good start for arming teachers. 

“It might save a teacher’s life, save students’ lives and potentially avert a situation that is happening at the moment,” Hardman said. 

But some local educators aren’t sure that’s the solution. 

Ludlow Independent Schools Superintendent Mike Borchers said officials need to consider anything they can do to ensure the safety of students, but he said he’s not sure if arming teachers is the best approach. 

“Teachers are inherently coached to be nurturers, and when you have more guns in schools that can be a difficult situation -- doesn’t mean it’s right or wrong," Borchers said. “I think it’s something we all have to look at from our own situations.” 

Dawn Laber, principal of Moyer Elementary School, said school officials need to arm themselves with the right tools in terms of preparation, not with weapons. 

“I don’t know if armed schools is the way I would ever want my child growing up and is the way I would ever want to be principal of a school,” Laber said. “But, I want to arm my teachers and my parents and my students with the right tools and the right resources.” 

Law enforcement consultant Gene Ferrara said he supports having armed people in schools, but they shouldn’t be teachers. The former University of Cincinnati police chief said the training that comes with a concealed carry class isn’t enough. 

“You can get a conceal carry permit with minimal training,” Ferrara said. “That’s to protect yourself. Now, we’re talking about protecting someone else.  If it was easy to do, we wouldn’t have all those hundreds of hours training police officers.” 

Law enforcement officials receive tactical and defensive training in the event they have to use deadly force. 

Davina Eccard, of the Tactical Intelligence Group, said a person must be able to properly handle a firearm amid the stress of active shooter situation. 

“When people are running and screaming and there’s lives on the line, everything kind of goes sideways for a lot of folks,” Eccard said. “You don’t necessarily react the way you anticipate you’ll react.”