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Two school districts in Ohio believe their teachers are the best first line of defense against an active shooter.
The Sidney and Mad River school districts have trained an undisclosed number of teachers to fire back if encountered by a killer. Those districts have guns hidden in safes throughout its schools. Only staff on the armed response team can open them.
“Our staff members are trained to go to the threat and address the threat. Not to run away,” Mad River Schools Superintendent Chad Wyen told Fox News.
Members of the armed response are selected by the district, vetted and must have a license to carry a firearm. The team goes through “rigorous” monthly training.
“These teachers are trained and trained as well in the use of firearms as the average police officer,” Sidney Middle School armed guard and veteran tactical officer Rick Cron told Fox News. “I made sure that that would happen. I didn’t want someone who wasn’t trained to come to my aid. I wanted people who understood tactics.”
The debate whether to arm teachers is raging across America in the wake of the Parkland, Florida, shooting last week at a high school that killed 17 students. But the debate about arming teachers really started years ago after the Sandy Hook tragedy.
Schools in Texas, Indiana, and even California started to arm teachers after that fatal shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut.
The state of Ohio offers funding for schools to train their teachers. Some students at the two districts seem to believe arming teachers in the right way to go.
“To have people inside the school who know what they are doing and who can protect us, I mean, that’s amazing, and I don’t think there’s really any room for complaints,” Liberty Flynn, a 10th-grade student at Stebbins High School in Riverside, Ohio, told Fox News.
“When we are inside those four walls, they are our safety. That’s our safety for the day,” Stebbins High School sophomore, Will Rodriguez, added.
Of course, not all are in agreement. Some parents voiced concern about adding such a major responsibility to already overburdened teachers.
Sidney Police Chief William Balling told Fox News he’s not against arming teachers and other school staff, but he does worry that they could interfere with his first responders.
“Because now you take away a possibility of one or two people with guns to six or seven people with guns without us having assurance who’s the good guy or the bad guy,” Balling said.