Ohio educators react to passage of bill allowing for armed teachers

Published: Jun. 3, 2022 at 10:38 AM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Ohio lawmakers have passed a bill that will allow school staff and teachers to carry guns in the classroom.

House Bill 99 passed the Ohio House 56 to 34 on Wednesday and Gov. Mike DeWine said he will sign it into law. Some school leaders fear that this law will affect teacher shortages. Individual school districts would decide which teachers would be armed. Toledo Public Schools leaders say it’s a “no” for them.

“Their job is to teach our students. That’s what their job is and they do it well. The last thing we need to do is add a firearm in their possession on a daily basis. That’s ludicrous and that’s not going to happen at TPS,” said TPS school board member Chris Varwig.

School board member Chris Varwig cites liability concerns along with teachers already having enough to deal with in the classroom. The training for teachers would not exceed 24-hours.

“While I do not speak for all teachers, I do believe I speak for the vast major of educators when I say arming teachers and bringing more guns into schools is a bad idea and one that actually fosters a greater sense of fear, anxiety, and panic into our workplace. This is just another burden placed on teachers and one that makes most of us feel much less safe. I am also very concerned this law will further impact the teacher shortages many of us are facing as I fear this law will cause many to leave the profession,” said Otsego High School Principal Kevin O’Shea.

Several Ohio education organizations have voiced opposition to the move and urged Gov. DeWine not to sign it into law. The governor says he looks forward to signing the bill.

“Last week I called on the General Assembly to pass a bill that would allow local school districts, if they so chose, to designate armed staff for school security and safety. My office worked with the General Assembly to remove hundreds of hours of curriculum irrelevant to school safety and to ensure training requirements were specific to a school environment and contained significant scenario-based training. House Bill 99 accomplishes these goals, and I thank the General Assembly for passing this bill to protect Ohio children and teachers. I look forward to signing this important legislation.” - Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine

You can read the legislation in full here.

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