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Government/Politics

Ohio House okays lowering training requirements for armed teachers and school staff

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The bill drops the 700 hours of training now required in state law down to 20 hours.

The Ohio House has passed a Republican-backed bill changing the law requiring more 700 hours of peace officer training or 20 years law enforcement experience for teachers and staff who want to be armed in schools. The bill passed on a mostly party line vote and now heads to the Senate.

The bill lowers the requirement to 20 hours of concealed carry and other gun training. Rep. Phil Plummer (R-Dayton), the former Montgomery County Sheriff, said it’s needed by rural districts with long response times from law enforcement, and by poor districts that can’t afford school resource officers.

“We have to arm these teachers to give these kids a fighting chance," Plummer said. "This isn't that bad of a bill."

Gayle Manning (R-North Royalton) was the only Republican to join Democrats such as Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) in voting no.

Howse asked if input from kids in majority Black districts was heard, and sponsor Thomas Hall (R-Middletown) responded that this was mostly for rural districts.

But Howse said that input from communities like hers needed to be considered.

"Our children, Black babies, are overcriminalized," Howse said. "We really need to think about what we are doing. There's precedent set when you arm people and they see Black faces....you're not talking about the kids that I represent. And that's problematic for me."

Supporters said the bill allows districts to require more training, but opponents noted the Fraternal Order of Police is among those against the bill.

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