HAMILTON, Ohio – An Ohio judge ruled that teachers and staff carrying concealed weapons in schools do not have to complete the same training requirements as police, reported NBC News.
Butler County Judge Charles Pater ruled Thursday that teachers and staff carrying firearms do not have to undergo the 728 hours of training required of law enforcement. The policy of the school district, where a student shot and injured two classmates in 2016, requires 27 hours, according to U.S. News.
The lawsuit, brought by parents against Madison Local Schools in September, also sought to get documentation on the gun policy, which the judge granted.
Madison superintendent Lisa Tuttle-Huff told the press that the board has authorized 10 people to carry firearms in school.
“The phrase at issue, ‘a position in which such person goes armed while on duty’ in context, must refer to ‘persons otherwise privately employed in a police capacity,'” Judge Pater wrote in his decision, according to the Journal-News. “Clearly teachers, administrators, administrative assistants and custodians, along with most, if not all, other school employees are not employed by educational institutions in such capacity, unlike someone such as a school resource officer who is.”
Nevertheless, the group of parents were unhappy with the legal opinion. Rachel Bloomekatz, the parents’ lawyer, said an appeal is possible, adding that they “respectfully disagree with the court’s ruling.”
“We’re pleased the court recognized that Madison parents have a right to critical details about the district’s program that the board had tried to keep secret from parents, like the terms of the policy itself and how it is being implemented,” Bloomekatz said. “Much of what we learned is that the board is not following what it told the public.”
Last year Butler County Sheriff Richard K. Jones advocated such a plan. In the spirit of public safety, he offered to cover the cost for teachers to take a concealed carry class in Butler County, which is north of Cincinnati. After receiving 300 requests, Jones said the limit had been reached.
“You need back up, you need people in the schools,” Jones said in a CNN interview. “Officers aren’t always the answer. You need somebody without a weapon, that can keep their weapon secured, trained.”
Tuttle-Huff told the Journal-News that, although the policy is controversial, its goal has always been the safety of students.
“The board will continue doing what we believe is in the best interest of our community,” Tuttle-Huff said. “Our primary concern has been and continues to be the safety of our students, and what works for our community may not work for others. While this policy has received a substantial amount of attention, it is just one of many steps that have been taken to ensure student safety.”