Skip to Content
Students Features Range Owners Find Classes Find Instructors Find Ranges Log In

Ohio “Slashes” Gun Training Requirement for Teachers?: An Honest Look at Ohio’s Armed Teacher Laws - Part 2

Deron M. Boring photo

Author: Deron M. Boring

Ohio “Slashes” Gun Training Requirement for Teachers?: An Honest Look at Ohio’s Armed Teacher Laws - Part 2

Part II

Ohio’s House Bill 99 signed into law by Governor Mike DeWine allows teachers and staff members to again go armed into their schools as long as they fulfill the training requirements and are authorized by their school board.

As I previously discussed in Part I of this series, HB 99 corrected a terrible and incorrect interpretation of the law by the Ohio Supreme Court that set an unrealistic requirement: any school employee wishing to carry into the school had to complete the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy (OPOTA) or a similar training totaling over 700 hours. Many of those hours were spent in irrelevant courses such as a tactical driving course or search and seizure law, which are relevant to law enforcement officers, not armed teachers. This bill did not reduce training hours, it instead created a training structure that was much more reasonable and relevant.

Before the Ohio Supreme Court’s ruling, many school personnel attended the FASTER Saves Lives training program. Joe Eaton, Program Director for FASTER told me via e-mail, “Parents, students and communities across Ohio thank Governor Dewine and the legislature for passing HB 99 and allowing them to return to the enhanced safety and security plans they had in place for the previous decade. Several hundred Ohio schools are again safer today and hundreds more will be in the future. Additionally, HB 99 improves on the previous law by providing access to many more resources to any school where student safety is truly a priority.”

HB 99 created a new state agency, the Ohio Mobile Training Unit (Training Unit), to oversee the training of the armed school personnel and assist schools with emergency management plans, security protocols, and other similar duties to help schools become safer for students.

The new Training Unit created will evaluate schools for safety gaps. “This is something we’ve done in our embassies for years. Ohio is investing $100 million for school improvements similar to what the fire service or airline industry has done in safety redundancies and overlapping layers of protection,” said Jim Irvine, co-Director of FASTER. (In contrast, the federal government’s latest “gun safety bill” after the Uvalde, Texas shooting only allocated $300 million nationwide for similar uses.)

Again, contrary to the anti-gun media’s narrative, this bill did not “slash” training for armed teachers. It addressed the training issue created by the Supreme Court ruling by clarifying that OPOTA training is not required and mandating 24 hours of relevant training. OPOTA training was a step too far, with too much irrelevant training for any school personnel. The Ohio Legislature never intended to require that level of training for any school official.

HB 99 requires the following to have armed personnel in the school:

  • A school board must authorize the person or persons that will be armed in the school.

  • A school board must notify the public that they have authorized a person to go armed within the school.

  • The Ohio Mobile Training Unit must be notified of the names of the individuals authorized but this list is not a public record and must be kept confidential.

  • The person authorized must complete the 24-hour training program set up by the new Training Unit or some other equivalent training authorized by the school board and approved by the Ohio Training Unit. This training may be more than 24 hours if a school board so chooses to require more training.

  • This new curriculum must include the following instruction:

    • Mitigation techniques

    • Communications capabilities and coordination and collaboration techniques

    • Neutralization of potential threats and active shooters;

    • Accountability

    • Reunifications

    • Psychology of critical incidents

    • De-escalation techniques

    • Crisis intervention

    • Trauma and first aid care

    • The history and pattern of school shootings

    • Tactics of responding to critical incidents in schools

    • At least four hours of training in scenario-based or simulated training exercises

    • Completion of tactical live firearms training

    • Realistic urban training

  • The person authorized must submit to an annual criminal records background check.

  • The person authorized must complete 8 hours of continuing education annually.

As you can see, this is a significant amount of training relevant to the duties and responsibilities of any person elected to be armed in a school. There is now a clear outline and requirement for training along with a state agency charged with the sole duty of protecting our schools and school children.

If I had to make an educated guess, the State of Ohio will set up a top-notch training program but will also authorize some other training programs. The FASTER program has been a leader in training school personnel, and I believe it will be the first non-governmental training program permitted under this new plan.

According to FASTER’s Jim Irvine, with the passage of HB 99, “We will lead the nation in school safety and security. There is no better model than Ohio, and the nation will follow in our footsteps.”

comments powered by Disqus