Tuscarawas Valley Local Schools will soon allow some employees to carry guns on campus.
The decision was made following a lengthy discussion and vote by its board of education on Monday night. Superintendent Mark Murphy told the crowd in attendance that the idea had been tossed around for months and that his thinking had changed.
"I used to think absolutely no way," he said.
He said the district is not releasing specifics about the new program or when it will go into effect but did say the employees who will be armed will have to meet strict requirements, along with ongoing training and certifications.
The superintendent released the following statement:
Educating with excellence and ensuring safe, positive learning environments are our main objectives. We are committed to continuously updating our safety standards given the reality and challenges we face today. The Board of Education unanimously approved a resolution to arm employees at its meeting Monday. None of us are excited about the endeavor, yet it is a significant safety measure the Board has authorized.
Details of the district's Emergency Safety Plan are confidential, including specifics regarding individuals to be armed, training requirements, timeline, etc. These matters will be held in the strictest of confidence. I will emphasize, however, employees to be armed will meet very stringent requirements, along with ongoing training and certifications.
The Board and I are extremely grateful for the attendance, involvement, and positive feedback received at the district's safety forum held in March. Clearly, parent and community guidance was for the district to continue investigating alternative safety measures, including, but not limited to, surveillance upgrades, safety equipment/technology, and arming employees to protect our children.
Personally, I find it troubling that we even have to discuss these types of measures. We trust that we never have to address an active shooter in our schools, yet if need be, we will do whatever it takes to keep students and staff safe, reduce loss, and save lives.