House Committee Passes HB 99 to Restore School Board Authority Over Security
On Wednesday, November 10, 2021, the Ohio House Criminal Justice Committee approved Substitute House Bill 99 and passed it out of committee on a party line vote of 7 to 5. It now makes its way to the House floor for a vote.
The bill seeks to reverse an absurd ruling by the Ohio Supreme Court that requires school employees to receive the same training as police officers before they can carry a firearm in school even if approved by the local school district.
This training includes more than 700 hours, most of which is unrelated to stopping active killers, and which would be next to impossible for anyone employed by a school to complete. It's the equivalent of nearly 20 years of continuing education the average teacher receives.
The problem began when attorneys with Bloomberg-funded Everytown for Gun Safety filed suit against Madison Local School District in a blatant effort to shut down school security programs involving armed staff members.
The district initially received a favorable ruling, but an appeals court overturned it. It then went to the Ohio Supreme Court, which with a narrow 4-3 ruling in June of this year, agreed with Everytown.
Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor joined the three Democrat justices (Justice Jennifer Brunner, Justice Michael Donnelly, and Justice Melody Stewart) in a decision which found that a Madison Local School District policy allowing armed staff violates state law.
Buckeye Firearms Association strongly disagrees with this decision. And former Attorney General Mike DeWine expressed his formal opinion in 2012, and again in 2013, that "Ohio law does not prevent a local school board from arming an employee, unless that employee's duties rise to the level that he/she would be considered "security personnel."
The OSC ruling makes it necessary for the Ohio General Assembly to address the matter. Last year, they neglected to finish work on a bill that would have clarified the intent of lawmakers to allow local boards of education to make their own decisions when it comes to arming staff members.
HB 99 may soon get a vote on the House floor, and we urge lawmakers to vote for its passage. It would then move to the Senate, and eventually to Governor DeWines desk for his signature.
The lives of Ohio school children hang in the balance. Many school security programs have been shut down as a result of the meddling of out-of-state Everytown activists. We call on Ohio lawmakers to do what's right and restore authority over local school security to school boards where it belongs.