A bill recently approved by the Ohio House would authorize school districts across the state to designate employees who may carry concealed handguns on school grounds — and prohibit disclosing these employees’ names. There is so much wrong with the measure that the Senate should let it die.
Ohio law already allows armed employees in public schools: Toledo Public Schools have police officers in some schools. They carry visible sidearms and have arrest powers.
State Rep. Teresa Fedor (D., Toledo), who taught for 18 years, sees no need for the House bill, which she voted against. “When kids find out there’s a gun and they don’t know where it is, it’ll be like Christmas presents,” she warns. “They’re going to go look for the gun.”
The bill’s secrecy provisions would be exempt from collective bargaining. That puts at risk school employees who have every right to negotiate the conditions — and potential use — of a life-threatening weapon in their workplace. What would happen, for example, if a student grabbed a gun from a teacher?
Similarly, the bill would remove legal responsibility from local school members who would decide secretly which school employees could pack heat. Bill Bond, a school safety expert with the National Association of Secondary School Principals, sensibly observes: “Giving teachers and principals guns, training them as armed guards, is not how we should be focusing our resources to improve school safety.” Armed teachers would degrade the learning environment in a school, Mr. Bond says.
A recent study by the New York Times found that in the year after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., states passed 39 bills to tighten gun restrictions — and 70 to loosen them. This bad bill should not add to the latter total.