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Ohio governor unveils new training standards for armed school employees

The curriculum includes 24 hours of initial training and eight hours of annual recertification training


Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine discusses a law that gives school districts the option of arming trained school employees.

AP Photo/Andrew Welsh-Huggins

By Jeremy Pelzer

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio’s new training standards for educators to carry concealed firearms at school include instruction in de-escalation techniques, “neutralization” of potential active shooters, and trauma and first-aid care, among other things, Gov. Mike DeWine’s office announced Monday.

The standards were developed by the Ohio School Safety Center, part of the Ohio Department of Public Safety, after DeWine signed House Bill 99 last summer. The law dramatically lowers the number of training hours needed for K-12 school personnel in Ohio to carry firearms on the job from more than 700 hours to 24 hours. HB99 also requires at least eight hours of continuing training each year.

The new standards for school staff to start carrying a firearm include:

  • A combined 15 hours of instruction in fundamentals and marksmanship, tactical live fire, response tactics, realistic urban training, and threat neutralization
  • Four hours of scenario-based training
  • A 2-hour course of fire
  • Getting every question correct on a one-hour written test
  • 15 minutes of study each in eight subjects: mitigation techniques; communications capabilities and techniques; legal and safety accountability; how students/staff meet back up after an active threat; psychology of critical incidents; de-escalation and crisis intervention; trauma and first aid; and defining terms such as a “mass shooting” and a “threat assessment team”

[EARLIER: Ohio governor signs bill allowing armed school employees]

After the clearing the initial bar, annual continuing training standards include:

  • A total of four hours of scenario-based training, fundamentals and marksmanship, tactical live fire, response tactics, realistic urban training, and threat neutralization
  • Two hours of training from the 24-hour training curriculum
  • Scoring a 100% on a one-hour written test
  • A one-hour course of fire

School districts also are allowed to create their own alternative training curricula if the Ohio School Safety Center approves them.

Each school district will decide whether their employees should get the required training through a local firearms training provider or by the state. The Ohio Department of Public Safety has hired 16 mobile training officers around the state to instruct school staff, among other responsibilities, according to ODPS spokesman Jay Carey.

Ohio Republican lawmakers passed HB99 in June after the Ohio Supreme Court ruled last year that educational workers can only carry firearms at school if they complete a basic peace-officer training program (which consists of more than 700 hours of training) or have at least 20 years of peace officer experience.

Republicans introduced HB99 to explicitly overturn the Supreme Court ruling, which sided against a Butler County school district policy allowing employees to voluntarily carry concealed firearms in school so long as they have a conceal-carry permit and undergo active shooter training.

Gun-rights groups testified in favor of the legislation, while teachers’ unions and the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio spoke against it.

In June, a separate law took effect no longer requiring people in Ohio to get a permit or receive training in order to carry a concealed handgun in Ohio.

NEXT: Poll call: Do you believe schools are safer if teachers are armed?

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