‘Our Schools Will No Longer Be Soft Targets’: Tiny Rural Ohio Town Lets Staff Arm Themselves | Eastern North Carolina Now

    Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the The Daily Wire. The author of this post is Hank Berrien.

    An Ohio school district centered in a tiny town of 560 people has responded to recent school shootings by permitting its teachers to be armed.

    River Valley Local School District in Caledonia, which has roughly 2,000 students from around the area, citing a law signed by Governor Mike DeWine in June 2022, said it will allow staff members in its high school, middle school, Heritage, and Liberty elementary schools to arm themselves.

    "Our schools will no longer be soft targets and unprotected," Superintendent Adam Wickham told The Marion Star. "Most active-shooter events occur in areas of 'gun-free zones' or with minimal safety measures in place. We want to ensure our schools will not be soft targets."

    "As a rural community, response times can often be minutes away in the event of an active shooter," he continued. "The use of armed staff in our buildings can potentially save lives by providing a more immediate response to the threat. Recent school shootings such as in Nashville, Uvalde (Texas), and Parkland (Florida) clearly show that the quicker the response time, the more likely you are to potentially save lives."

    Wickham noted that the River Valley Local Schools policy has more stringent training than state requirements.

    The bill DeWine signed, House Bill 99, states that it "allows the previous practice of permitting school boards to choose to arm specific staff members and mandates reasonable training requirements for those individuals."

    "Some have expressed questions about the training and selection process," Wickham acknowledged. "The vast majority of parents have expressed appreciation for the proactive approach in protecting their children. That is really a main reason for adopting the use of armed staff. While we understand not everyone will support this program, every safety measure we take at River Valley, including the use of armed staff, is put in place to try and ensure our staff and students can go home safely to their families and loved ones, each and every day."

    "The River Valley Board had previously approved the use of armed staff for the 2020-21 school year," Wickham said. "At that time the use of armed staff for the 2020-21 school year was confidential as protected by Ohio law, as part of the district's safety plan. School districts had to suspend the use of armed staff with the Ohio Supreme Court's ruling in the summer of 2021. Once HB 99 was passed, training details were released by the state in December of 2022, I recommended to the board resuming this program and the board approved the use of armed staff at the Jan. 12, 2023, meeting."
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