CHARDON, Ohio — The Chardon Local Schools Board of Education said it will not consider arming personnel after Gov. Mike DeWine signed a bill on Monday that allows districts to opt in and let staff members carry a gun in school with 24 hours of training.
Local Schools superintendent Michael P. Hanlon, Jr.,who wrote a letter to district parents and guardians on June 8 before DeWine signed the bill, said opting in to allow staff to arm themselves was "not under consideration by our Board of Education at this time."
"The topic of arming school personnel in the Chardon Schools under the provisions of this pending legislation is not under consideration by our Board of Education at this time. There are many complicating factors associated with this legislation including; training of staff, school district liability insurance and school district policy changes (to name just a few)," Hanlon's letter states.
Hanlon said the board and school officials will continue to enhance their working relationship the Chardon Police Department, its school resources officer Sgt. Derek Carlson and the Geauga County Sheriff's Office.
We value the partnerships we have with these agencies related to school safety planning and response to issues that occur in our schools. Our highly-trained first responders are a tremendous asset in keeping our students and staff safe each day.
Our Board of Education is committed to monitoring this legislation as the practical issues related to arming school personnel begin to unfold across the State of Ohio. They remain committed to providing an opportunity for community feedback on this important topic before acting to implement any policy or plan under this legislation.
On Feb. 27, 2012, three students, 16-year-old Daniel Parmertor, 16-year-old Russell King Jr. and 17-year-old Demetrius Hewlin, were killed when a gunman opened fire inside the Chardon High School cafeteria while waiting to catch a bus to an alternative school. Another student, 17-year-old Nick Walczak, was permanently disabled.
Chardon High School Football Coach Frank Hall, who spoke with News 5 after the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas last month, is credited with chasing the teenage shooter out of Chardon High School and going back into the building to help victims who were still instead. Hall has dedicated his life to improving school safety, starting The Coach Hall Foundation in 2013, in memory of Chardon High School shooting victims.
He told News 5 he believes there are two things that must happen to improve school safety across the country.
"You must have a school resource officer in every school in America, they are in charge of school safety, they have one objective, to make sure every kid goes home safe every day," Hall said. "The second component to that is mental health. If you don’t have a mental health expert in your school, that’s evaluating these kids, making sure they have someone to talk to, identifying problems, then you need to reevaluate what you’re doing."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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