Par­ents seek pause in arm­ing teach­ers

Group wants in­junc­tion un­til law­suit vs. Madi­son Schools is de­cided.

Dayton Daily News - - LOCAL & STATE - By Denise G. Cal­la­han Staff Writer

The par­ents BUT­LER COUNTY — who sued Madi­son Lo­cal Schools over arm­ing teach­ers and staff want the judge to or­der a pre­lim­i­nary in­junc­tion so the district’s gun pro­gram will pause while the law­suit is pend­ing.

A group of par­ents sued the Board of Ed­u­ca­tion and su­per­in­ten­dent in Septem­ber, al­leg­ing the board’s April res­o­lu­tion autho­riz­ing armed staff in schools vi­o­lates an Ohio law re­quir­ing that armed school em­ploy­ees be trained and cer­ti­fied as peace of­fi­cers.

The par­ents are seek­ing an in­junc­tion block­ing the district from arm­ing teach­ers and other staff with­out the train­ing re­quired by law — 728 hours ver­sus the 26 hours the school has in its pol­icy — and a court or­der re­quir­ing dis­clo­sure of poli­cies and pro­ce­dures for arm­ing staff.

The par­ents’ at­tor­ney, Rachael Bloomekatz said she asked for the im­me­di­ate in­junc­tion be­cause they fear some­one could get hurt if staff are car­ry­ing firearms with­out proper train­ing.

“Be­cause the district’s pro­gram does not abide by the state’s min­i­mum train­ing re­quire­ments, in­suf­fi­ciently trained armed school staff could be soon roam­ing the hall­ways of Madi­son schools, if they’re not al­ready,” Bloomekatz told the Jour­nal-News. “That’s not just il­le­gal, it puts Madi­son’s kids at un­due risk for tragic ac­ci­dents. So we’re ask­ing the court to pause the district’s pro­gram while it as­sesses this crit­i­cal ques­tion.”

Su­per­in­ten­dent Lisa Tut­tle-Huff would not say whether any­one has started the pro­gram and is car­ry­ing a gun in school. She did email this state­ment:

“The board of ed­u­ca­tion and the su­per­in­ten­dent strongly be­lieve that fail­ure to im­ple­ment this pol­icy serves only to en­dan­ger the stu­dents and staff of Madi­son Lo­cal Schools in the event of an­other ac­tive shooter cri­sis,” she wrote. “How­ever, should the court rule in fa­vor of the mo­tion the school district will, of course, com­ply with the court’s de­ci­sion.”

In 2016, Madi­son Se­nior/Ju­nior High School saw an eighth-grader fire a gun, wound­ing three class­mates.

The law­suit ac­knowl­edges the school board has dis­cre­tion to al­low armed staff, but says it must fol­low the law.

“Ohio law re­quires a school em­ployee that goes ‘armed while on duty’ to have first com­pleted a ‘ba­sic peace of­fi­cer train­ing’ pro­gram or have 20 years ex­pe­ri­ence serv­ing as a peace of­fi­cer. That train­ing is over 700 hours,” the law­suit notes.

The school district re­cently asked the judge to dis­miss the por­tion of the law­suit that in­volves pub­lic records, say­ing the in­for­ma­tion is pro­tected by law. That mo­tion is pend­ing. Con­tact this re­porter at 513-7555074 or email Denise.Cal­la­han@ cox­inc.com.

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