Montpelier, Ohio school board decision: Staff will be armed

More than two dozen northwest Ohio teachers sign up for free concealed carry class

by Chad D. Baus

The Bryan Times is reporting that staff members in Williams Co., Ohio's Montpelier Schools will soon be armed.

From the article:

The district's board of education voted Wednesday to adopt a policy allowing certain individuals to carry concealed firearms on the premises.

The decision came in the wake of December's shooting attack at an elementary school in Sandy Hook, Conn. Dr. Jamison Grime, superintendent, said the individuals will be members of the staff, not hired guards. He said they will not be identified, presumably for security purposes, and they will not carry the weapons until they have received concealed carry training.

Grime did not immediately offer more details on the decision, which was made following an executive session at the end of the board's regular meeting.

The regular session saw Darrell Higbie, a veteran of the Montpelier Police Department, sworn in as a new member.

Higbie has worked for the police department since 1994, and has two children attending Montpelier schools. He replaces John Kaylor, who resigned in December because he was moving out of the area.

While it is not the first school in Ohio to allow certain members of its staff to go armed, the Montpelier Board of Education may be the first to announce the decision publicly.

Also in northwest Ohio, The Fulton County Expositor is reporting on a free teacher/ school administrator class to be held in March. and taught by yours truly.

From the article:

About two dozen school teachers and staff members from the four-county area will participate in March in a local concealed carry class tailored specifically to their positions.

All but two of the 25 spaces available in the free class offered by Northwest Self Defense were filled as of Tuesday, said company president Chad Baus. The spaces filled within two days of being advertised and of information being sent directly to the school districts.

The concealed carry class is being held the weekend of March 23 in direct response to the massacre Dec. 14 of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. by 20-year-old Adam Lanza. The class location has not been determined.

Sponsors include Ace Hardware in Wauseon and the Buckeye Firearms Foundation based in Delaware, Ohio.

Participants will be instructed on pistol and ammunitions[sic] mechanics, safety issues and conceal carry law in Ohio. A 12-hour class is state-mandated for any citizen who considers obtaining a conceal carry license.

The article goes on to explain the process for applying for a concealed handgun license, before continuing:

"This is to get more people educated and trained," Baus said. "We protect our movie stars and rock stars and politicians with guns, but we're not willing to protect our kids with guns."

In the past, the feeling was that placing a warning sign on the door of a school or business protected it from guns, Baus said. "It's a fantasy. It's the same thing with these discussions over assault weapons."

Over half of those who have signed up for the concealed carry class are women. Baus opened it to all school employees in Fulton, Henry, Williams and Defiance counties to encourage them to think differently about how to protect students.

"I was fully confident that we'd be able to fill this class because these teachers and staff love their kids, and they're as tired of seeing these incidents happen as we are. We need to be protecting our kids in a different way, and giving teachers alternatives other than throwing themselves in front of the bullets," he said.

The class he and his partner will conduct will specifically address the positions of teachers and other school staff members.

Baus conceded that training school personnel to use guns is controversial, but added: "It's time to stop talking. Every time one of these instances happens we talk, but it never goes anywhere. Well, it's time to discuss something else."

He said school shootings in Newtown, Conn., Paducah, Ky., and Littleton, Colo., among others, over the past decade or more have reinforced his and others' belief "that a good guy with a gun is the ultimate means to stop an act of violence."

He said the shooters in these type of incidents always seem to attack at places where guns are purposely banned.

"Who do you call when problems start? You call someone with a gun," Baus said. "My argument for people who don't want to see kids witness a gun fight is, better a gun fight than a firing squad."

Citing arguments against arming school personnel who never handled a weapon before training, Baus said generally not many accidents occur under those circumstances, "and I don't think they would in school."

The Archbold native and owner of Car 1 became familiar with concealed-carry law while working in Nashville, Tenn. He was among Second Amendment proponents who successfully advocated for an Ohio concealed-carry law in 2004. He began teaching gun self-defense classes in 2004, and founded Northwest Self Defense two years later.

The business conducts general firearm safety classes and conceal-carry classes in various locations, including the Fulton County Sportsmen Club in Wauseon and at the Archbold and Fayette police department firing ranges.

Baus dismisses attempts to regulate guns, saying, "We've already tried it. We had an assault weapon ban in place from 1994 to 2004 nationally. It doesn't work.

"How in the world can we prohibit guns – which are protected by the Second Amendment – in the public domain, when we can't prevent drugs from getting inside our prisons? Show me a place where cocaine and heroin don't exist, and then you can talk to me about making something illegal [makes it] unavailable."

The article quotes interim Archbold school superintendent Joe Long, who said the question of whether school personnel need the school district's permission to take a gun class is moot. "That's their option. That's their choice. That's their business. The only question would (arise) if someone actually wanted to do that – conceal carry at the school," he said.

The Archbold school board has had no discussions about permitting conceal-carry in the district's buildings.

Wauseon Exempted Village Schools Superintendent Larry Brown said at present taking the class is a district employee's individual decision. He said the school board has had no concealed carry discussions, and would probably first seek a recommendation from NEOLA, a national organization that provides school districts with policy guidance.

Baus plans to keep the names of the concealed carry class participants and their school districts confidential. But he is encouraging school boards to announce publicly whether district personnel members are participating.

"That's going to be a deterrent," he said.

And thankfully, that's just what one northwest Ohio school has already decided to do.

Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman, and an NRA-certified firearms instructor and President of Northwest Self Defense.

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