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Study finds 40% of Ohio teachers feel school security measures are inadequate; Politicians' answer? Levy taxes.
by Chad D. Baus
The Akron Beacon-Journal is reporting that a recent Ohio School Board Association survey of school board members and superintendents found that about 40 percent felt safety measures at schools are not adequate.
From the article:
Some 25 percent in the survey felt their school buildings do "not have proper safety and security measures in place" and another 14 percent were "unsure" if their security is adequate.
...The survey also found that three in five districts that responded have no resource officers. Resource officers primarily serve as a visible police force and deterrent, but they also serve as a liaison to the local police department and a mentor to children.
Fortunately, Ohio law provides boards of education a zero-cost way to provide increased protection for the students in their care. All a school board has to do is to authorize the people they are already employing - people who have concealed handgun licenses and who carry them responsibly everywhere else in their life - to carry when they are in the school too.
Despite having this clear, simple, easy solution that has been proven to work to stop mass shootings and minimize the body count, the Ohio Senate appears prepared instead to back a proposal that would place a huge new tax burden on Buckeye state residents.
From The Toledo Blade:
The Senate Ways and Means Committee voted Tuesday to send [Senate Bill 42] to the full Senate. It would authorize school districts, if they want, to ask voters to approve a property tax levy dedicated exclusively to school security.
"Right now, the law doesn't allow us to do that," Sen. Randy Gardner (R., Bowling Green) said. "They could put a levy on and they could promise, but they can't actually put those words on the ballot."
..."They want to make sure that the community would have the confidence that the funds that would be utilized for this would always be used for safety and security and they couldn't be used for teacher salaries, technology, or any other school general fund purpose," Mr. Gardner said.
...The sole negative vote on committee came from Sen. Mike Skindell (D., Lakewood). He said the bill would further exacerbate problems cited by the Ohio Supreme Court when it repeatedly found unconstitutional the state’s reliance on local property taxes to fund schools.
"Again the wealthy districts will have secure schools," Mr. Skindell said. "The poorer districts will not have secure schools. We as members of the General Assembly have a mandatory obligation to ensure that every child attending a public school in Ohio is safe."
What Rep. Skindell seems not to understand is that this is not a money issue - it is a mindset issue. As has been pointed out above, schools in every neighborhood - rich or poor - have a free option available to them right now, and to claim that they are being hampered from protecting their children by inadequate funding is simply not true.
As several quoted in The Beacon-Journal article point out, communities simply don't have the resources to pay for new employees, such as school resource officers:
"It would be nice to have a resource officer in every building, but fiscally that is not possible," said William Stauffer, Springfield superintendent. "...[E]verybody’s tax dollars are stretched thin and community members are only able to pay so much."
...Even if schools offset operating funds with new local school levies, some local administrators are wary of further burdening already overtaxed communities.
"It's unfortunate though that they're still relying on the property taxes to do all this because [communities] are strapped," said Barberton Superintendent Patti Cleary.
Schools across the state are already employing hundreds upon hundreds of persons willing to go armed to offer better protection to their students. Many districts have already authorized their willing staff to carry a concealed handgun in their school building. Anyone claiming that money is an impediment to offering this type of protection to their students is simply not telling the truth.
Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman.