MIDDLETOWN, Ohio — Litigators with Everytown for Gun Safety, the country’s largest gun violence prevention organization, today delivered a letter to the Board of Education of the Madison Local School District on behalf of numerous parents and grandparents in the district who are concerned about a resolution passed by the board to allow teachers, staff, and “others” to carry hidden, loaded weapons in the district’s schools. In the letter, lawyers for Erin Gabbard, a parent of two children in the district, urged the district to suspend any further action on the proposal “unless and until a full and thorough disclosure, vetting, and public discussion of these issues has taken place.” Multiple other parents and grandparents have signed on to the letter as well.
“All of these families share the Board’s desire to take any and every step possible to keep the community’s school children safe,” the letter states. “However, they strongly disagree with the view that arming teachers, support staff, administrators, and ‘others’ would accomplish this goal.” Information about why arming teachers is dangerous is available here.
The letter continues: “Parents have the right to know if their children’s educators are armed and which teachers or school staff are armed. They also have a right to know whether the Board has a clear and responsible plan for training teachers, setting rules for when they may and may not use firearms, securely storing the firearms, and revoking firearm privileges. No parent should be forced to send their children into an armed school environment without full information about these critical issues, which directly implicate every parent’s ability to make informed decisions about the education of their own children.”
The letter outlines the numerous legal shortfalls with the resolution, which was passed April 24, 2018 with little opportunity for input from concerned families. Among other issues, the letter questions whether the board has adequately considered its obligations to comply with state and federal law pertaining to training requirements for armed personnel. The letter also outlines the increased exposure to liability for both the district and the armed teachers if a weapon possessed by an armed teacher is fired in questionable circumstances.
The letter requests the school district include a discussion of the resolution at its next meeting on July 16 and make public any policies and procedures being developed for the plan’s implementation, such as rules for the use and safe storage of firearms on school grounds, as well as assurances that the district’s insurance provider will continue to provide coverage.
In addition to lawyers from Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, Rachel Bloomekatz, a Columbus-based attorney with Gupta Wessler PLLC, is providing legal assistance.