BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio – A group of parents in the Madison Local School District will ask an appeals court to review a lower court ruling that Ohio teachers can carry hidden, loaded weapons in classrooms with minimal training. While Madison sent its armed staff to a privately-run 27 hour training course, the Court’s ruling would mean that Madison and other districts can arm teachers and staff in the future with as little as eight hours of training — six of which can be completed online. The appeal will also challenge the lower court’s ruling that the Madison Local School District can shield from the public the psychological evaluations conducted on its armed staff. The plaintiffs, five parents with a collective 12 children in district schools, are represented by attorneys from Everytown Law (the litigation arm of Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund) and Gupta Wessler PLLC.
“The plain text of the relevant law is clear,” said Rachel Bloomekatz, a Columbus-based attorney with Gupta Wessler PLLC. “If school boards are going to authorize teachers or other staff to carry deadly weapons at school, they must have the extensive training that is specified in Ohio law. Whatever your views on the policy, the Board must follow state law and that is why we’re appealing.”
The parents sued the Madison Local School District’s Board of Education and superintendent, alleging that the board’s resolution to authorize armed staff in district schools violates an Ohio law requiring that school employees who “go armed while on duty” be trained and certified as peace officers. The parents asked for an injunction to block the district from arming staff without the training required by law, as well as a court order requiring disclosure of policies and procedures for arming staff.
Last month, the court denied the request for an injunction but ordered the release of the school district’s policies and procedures for armed staff. The school district also agreed to release other documents and evidence relating to its armed staff program, withholding only the psychological evaluations of armed staff that remain the subject of ongoing litigation. As a recent Cincinnati Enquirer story reported, a “review of hours of those depositions and hundreds of court documents found discrepancies in what school officials told the public and what they actually did.” The released documents, along with the court filings can be found here.