By Rick Palsgrove
The Groveport Madison Board of Education is not in favor of arming its teachers and staff with guns.
Board members expressed this viewpoint at their June 22 meeting as part of a discussion of the state legislature’s recent passage of House Bill 99. The new law gives school boards the option to allow teachers and staff in a school to carry a firearm with a maximum of 24 hours of training. School districts would have the ability to require more training than the state requires. The law is optional so school districts are not required to do it.
“Even with training I am not comfortable with this,” said Groveport Madison Board President Chris Snyder. “It’s not a good thing for anybody. So many things could go bad. A dropped gun goes off. A kid steals the gun. There’s so many bad ways this could go. I don’t understand the support of a bill like this. It makes no earthly sense to me.”
Groveport Madison Interim Superintendent Jamie Grube said the new law is a permissive bill that allows adults to carry guns in school, if that’s the desire of the school district.
“It permits a school district’s board of education to determine if it wants to adopt such as policy,” said Grube.
According to Groveport Madison Schools Communications Director Jeff Warner, neither the district officials nor the board have an interest in such a policy at this time.
Snyder agreed stating the Groveport Madison Board of Education “is not in favor of creating a new rule to do this. I believe that arming more people is not the solution here. The board has not voted to allow staff members to bring guns into school and none of us have expressed any interest in allowing it to happen.”
Board members also indicated they believe the district has effective building security practices and that the teachers and staff know and implement these practices well.
“We have partnered with Safeguard Risk Solutions to help us develop and evaluate our safety plans, which have passed through Groveport city and Madison Township police, fire and emergency officials,” said Snyder. “We have police officers (SROs) in our high school and middle schools who have built solid relationships with our students and staff to help provide a safe environment where they can be effective. We perform safety drills to help teachers and students react properly and quickly to emergency situations.”
Police school resource officers
On June 27, Groveport City Council approved legislation to authorize the city administrator to enter into an agreement with Groveport Madison Schools to provide a Groveport Police officer as a school resource officer at Groveport Madison High School. The annual salary for the school resource officer is $89,897. Salary plus benefits totals $112,137. Groveport Madison Schools pay 69 percent of the salary plus benefits costs.
Groveport Madison Schools also contract with Madison Township to provide a Madison Township Police school resource officer.