SUGARCREEK, Ohio — The board of education at Garaway Schools in Sugarcreek, Ohio, passed a resolution this week to allow for armed staff in the district, according to the district’s superintendent.
Dr. James Millet, the superintendent, said the resolution also “included a strict authorization policy and training measures that must be completed before approval.”
Millet said the policy and training, along with local law enforcement, would offer “additional protection for our students and staff.”
Millet added in an emailed statement, “It is important to note, we are continually adding a variety of safety measures for our school district. The safety of our staff and students is a priority and we will always continue to add new safety features and seek ways to get better. This summer we have added physical protection, video surveillance and preventative mental health components.”
Board member April Beachy voted against the resolution at the board meeting on August 19.
By email, she told News 5 that Garaway’s 7-12 building had a school resource officer position for the 2018-2019 school year which was staffed by the Sugarcreek Village Police Department.
“The village paid for half and the school paid for half,” Beachy said.
Beachy noted that in June 2019, the board, with the exception of her, “voted to eliminate the SRO position in favor of moving a staff member to a newly created position of School Security Officer. Those two moves were the precursor to arming staff.”
In response to the board’s passage of the resolution to arm staff this week, Beachy wrote the following in a statement:
“We can all agree that gun violence has reached epidemic proportions.
I disagree with what we should do about it.
Garaway Schools have a different demographic than the rest of the county school districts. I believe that we have some of the most intelligent community members, extremely involved community organizations and the best teachers. We should use these resources to come up with a better way / more creative way to prevent school shooting and mitigate the response. We need to leave the job of security and response to trained Peace Officers and School Resource Officers.
Our duty to our teachers is to give them the tools to be the best educators they can. I know they deeply care about our students and I do not want to put that burden on them.
Sheriff Campbell said in our Board Meeting that arming teachers will not prevent a school shooting. It just attempts to mitigate it.
We as a Board and school system should embrace our different demographics, embrace our community and put our collective efforts into mental health wellness and helping raise better citizens.
As a community we need to find a way to break the cycle of violence. I think that we can do it differently and leave the job of law enforcement to law enforcement.”