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Published: Wednesday, 1/16/2013

Edgerton could join Montpelier as Williams County schools with armed staff

BY MARK REITER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

EDGERTON, Ohio - Edgerton Local Schools could become the second public school district in Williams County to give written approval for certain employees to have handguns in school.

The Board of Education on Monday night gave the go-ahead to Superintendent Andy Morr to develop a concealed-carry weapons policy for the 600-student district and bring the information to school board members for possible consideration next month.

Last week, Montpelier Exempted Village Schools, also in Williams County, gave written authorization under Ohio's concealed-carry weapon law to arm four janitors to protect students and staff in the district's single K-12 building.

Mr. Morr said the directive given to him by the board doesn't specify what positions could be involved in the policy, but it may include custodial staff, maintenance supervisors, and principals.

"At this point and time, no staff members have been identified," he said.

The school district has a resource officer, Matt Krill, who is also a full-time government teacher in the school and works part-time for the village police department.

"We are blessed and fortuntate to have a resource officer. But we are looking at taking addtional steps or measures to maintain the safety of our students and staff," he said.

The interest in arming staff at Edgerton is being driven by last month's shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.

"The shooting prompted the school board to ask questions about the [concealed-carry weapons] policy and protection we have in place," Mr. Morr said.

Among the district's concern, the superintendent said, is the ability of the police department in the village of 2,000 people to respond to violence at the school campus, which includes a new elementary wing that opened in 2011.

At Monday's meeting, Village Police Chief Jeremy Jones presented information about school shootings to board members, and offered to assist the school district in training employees if the district chooses to arm staff.

Chief Jones told The Blade that he supports arming additional staff at the school to protect students, teachers, staff.

"I think that is what is needed as the next step in school security," he said. "We can't predict when this is going to happen in our schools."



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