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Building Safe Schools Without Arming School Personnel

July 22, 2022

According to the Ohio Capital Journal, individual teachers, teachers’ unions, the Fraternal Order of Police, anti-gun violence activists and others opposed the policy, but Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed legislation in June that could allow teachers to carry firearms in the classroom.

House Bill 99 grants local boards of education authority to decide whether to allow their teachers and school workers to carry firearms. Whether the bill establishes a quantitative legal minimum has been disputed. However, it says local school boards must require up to 24 hours of training from teachers before they can carry. Boards could choose to mandate more but this isn’t required.

Prior law coupled with a recent state Supreme Court ruling required teachers to complete 700 hours of training before carrying, effectively forbidding the practice. The new law takes effect in September of 2022.

“This is a local choice, not mandated by the legislature nor by the government,” DeWine said to reporters. “Each school board will determine what is best for their students, their staff and their community.”

The SAFE OHIO SCHOOLS workshop has been designed to give local school leaders, good government groups, and community members detailed information and resources to help them understand all of the implications surrounding HB 99.

Please consider signing up for the SAFE OHIO SCHOOLS workshop, hosted by Honesty for Ohio Education- the training will be held virtually on Wednesday, July 27, at 6:00 PM.

“Building Safe Schools Without Arming School Personnel”

Learn how to build safe schools that protect students, educators, and staff WITHOUT arming school personnel.

Hear from experts, education leaders, and advocates about best practices and steps your school can take to protect, not “harden” your school.

Workshop includes:
• History of arming school personnel in Ohio
• Best practices for safe schools
• Drafting and passing a Safe Ohio Schools resolution
• Taking the Safe Ohio Schools Pledge
• Sharing your Safe Ohio Schools policy
• Toolkit and Resources

This workshop is hosted by Honesty for Ohio Education in strong partnership with Moms Demand Action, OEA, OFT, Ohio PTA, Children’s Defense Fund Ohio, NAACP, and League of Women Voters Ohio.

Jul 27, 2022 06:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Sign up HERE.

Please share this SOS with your local school leaders, and encourage them to join the SAFE OHIO SCHOOLS network!

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Voices

Dawn’s Story

I am a public school teacher in Oberlin, Ohio. As I do year after year, I had my fifth-graders write editorials for the Newspaper in Education contest sponsored by our local Chronicle-Telegram newspaper. And as I always do, I gave the students free choice to choose their topics and to come up with their own polished submissions.

When so many of them started writing about testing, I freaked out a little because prior to this month’s AIR testing, I had rarely even mentioned the topic to them, refusing to stress them out about the upcoming three weeks of testing. I sent some of their work to our principal with a note that said, in so many words, “Holy smokes, look at what these kids are saying. I promise that I haven’t been stressing them out about these tests!” She wrote back saying she thought their submissions sounded just fine.

I’m so thankful to have a principal who values our students’ feelings.

When I talked to the kids about the testing, I told them how surprised I was by their topic choices and asked why they were feeling so worried. After all, I told them, I had barely mentioned the topic and told them I’d be the last person to put pressure on them or try to stress them out. One student told me, “You are working with the wrong kids, Mrs. Randall. You don’t have to stress us out. We stress ourselves out enough for all of us.”

They then started sharing stories about last year’s PARCC test, when they tested on and off from February through May when they were in 4th-grade. They shared about how scared they were that they wouldn’t pass the Third-Grade Reading Guarantee reading test the year before that and then fail the entire year. Ohio legislation is insane.

But worst of all, one student said, “This is the third new kind of test we’ve had in three years. When will Ohio get this right?”

This same student was the one who took it upon himself to go to the Ohio Department of Education website on his Chromebook and research his topic and find out that some schools were able to still do paper/pencil tests, and he was pretty upset that he couldn’t.

I sent a note to the newspaper staff member about all their submissions and she told me to please not censor their writing, but to send it all in. She wanted to see it all.

Today, I opened the newspaper supplement to these two student submissions ruling a whole spread. Apparently, the judges heard them loud and clear and felt their words needed to be heard by our community.

All this high-stakes testing is really starting to take a toll on kids. When will our legislature hear and care about their voices?

Each child in my class is the SAME child who has been forced to sit through high-stakes testing year after year after year. When will enough be enough?

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