News organization exposed more than two hundred Ohio schools' lack of armed staff

[Update December 21, 2017 - News organization removes web data on school safety plans after BuckeyeFirearms.org article]

Last spring, northeast Ohio PBS conglomerate IdeaStream.org published a two-part series on Buckeye Firearms Foundation's FASTER Saves Lives program.

The articles, written by Annie Wu and published on a website that IdeaStream says is "used by 2.8 million people in a typical month," were informative, not editorial. They covered the content of the class and the rationale behind both instructors and participants.

The articles also noted an important reason why many schools have chosen not to reveal who in their schools are armed - "because those people could be targeted."

Unfortunately, Annie Wu and IdeaStream did not stop to consider that the reverse can also be true. Individuals and schools can and have been specifically targeted when it is publicly known that they are NOT armed.

And so it is that they set about to develop a list of schools in Ohio that may or may not have armed staff, and then proceeded to publish a document revealing the results.

We attempted to send the following email to every school district in Ohio asking if anyone had requested permission to conceal carry a firearm:

According to the Ohio Revised Code Section 2923.122 anyone who has written authorization from the board of education or governing body of a school may carry a firearm into a school.  I’d like to know…

1)has anyone who works in your district (faculty, staff or administrator) asked for permission to bring his/her firearm to school?

2)was that person(s) request approved?

3)when did this occur?

4)what is the person’s name & position title?

I would greatly appreciate your help in researching this matter. Thank you.

Many schools wisely did not answer, with some citing the fact that the public records law does not compel them to answer such security-related questions. A few more took the time to point out the danger of revealing their security plans.

More than two hundred others were not so wise. Some districts explained that they only have one security person on the entire campus who is armed, and others went so far as to advise IdeaStream that they not only don't have armed staff, but that they don't even have an armed school resource officer to protect students.

Even though this document has been in the public domain on a heavily-trafficked website since June 1, Buckeye Firearms Association has chosen not to draw attention to it previously out of concern for how the information might be used by someone who might be intent on harm. We chose instead to reach out to the Annie Wu/IdeaStream and urge them to remove the document.

After months of waiting with no response to email or phone messages, we believe it is time to respond. While we know that at least some of the information is now incorrect or out-of-date, increasing the deterrent effect for the entire list, we are still chosing not to link to the articles.

If you believe IdeaStream should remove this information from their website, please contact them here.

Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Secretary and an NRA-certified firearms instructor. He is co-founder of BFA-PAC, and served as its Vice Chairman for 15 years. He is the editor of BuckeyeFirearms.org, which received the Outdoor Writers of Ohio 2013 Supporting Member Award for Best Website.

[Update December 21, 2017 - News organization removes web data on school safety plans after BuckeyeFirearms.org article]

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