SALINEVILLE, Ohio (WKBN) – Should there be guns in schools to protect students? That was the question asked by the Southern Local Board of Education.
Citing serious threats to safety of students and faculty, the Southern Local School Board voted Monday night to allow certain faculty members on campus to carry handguns.
“Education is our number one priority but safety of our kids is right up there with that,” Superintendent John Wilson said.
One of the board members is a deputy sheriff, Kip Dowling. Another is Lisbon Police Chief Mike Abraham.
“They understand the ins and outs of laws, and what they can and can’t do, and what would make our school and our campus safer,” Wilson said.
He said several other local school superintendents thinking about taking similar steps have called him, asking how Southern Local made the decision.
“I think this could be a trend, especially in rural districts,” Wilson said.
Salineville, where the district is located, is very rural. It’s mostly farmland properties for several miles around the school, which could be cause for concern.
“The response time for the sheriff’s office to get there is 12 to 20 minutes. For an incident to happen, that’s going to be over,” Wilson said.
There will be strict guidelines. The names of those who carry will be kept confidential. Those that choose to carry will also need a concealed carry permit and be required to go through 40 hours of training.
“Current up-to-date monthly qualifications as well,” Wilson said.
Southern Local already has a sheriff’s deputy to patrol its campus. The board says they will continue to keep that deputy in addition to their new plan.