(WKBN) – Recent school shootings across the nation have school districts now questioning their safety plans.
Up for debate is whether teachers should carry guns on campus.
WKBN reached out to the school districts in Mahoning, Columbiana and Trumbull counties to see which districts allow teachers to carry guns in school and whether they’ve considered developing a plan.
Pennsylvania law does not allow teachers to carry guns in schools, so schools in Mercer and Lawrence counties do not have such a plan.
The following schools have implemented or are implementing a plan to have teachers carry guns:
- Southern Local School District: The district is in the early stages of discussing letting administrators carry guns, but not teachers. The district said its main reason for doing so is because it’s a rural community, about 12 to 20 minutes from Sheriff’s Office. They needed a quicker response in event of an emergency.
- United Local School District: The district believes that school safety can be dramatically enhanced by allowing certain trained individuals to carry concealed firearms while on duty. The goal is to make the campus as safe as possible for students and staff. School officials think this adds one more deterrent and response to the safety protocols already in place.
- Bloomfield-Mespo School: The district allows armed personnel through the District Safety Plan. Specific authorization to carry a firearm is granted only by the Board of Education through the plan.
The following schools have not discussed arming teachers with firearms:
- Austintown Local Schools: They have not discussed but have an officer in every school building and multiple school resource officers across the district.
- Boardman Local Schools: Other safety measures are in place, such as school resource officers in most buildings and across the district.
- Campbell City Schools
- Canfield Local School District: The district has a strong partnership with local law enforcement and has a full-time resource officer. The staff has been ALICE trained as well.
- Poland Local Schools
- Sebring Local Schools
- South Range Local School District
- West Branch Local Schools
- Western Reserve Local Schools: Has not discussed arming teachers, but the district has a full-time school resource officer in the building.
- Youngstown City Schools: There have been no discussions yet about teachers carrying guns at school and no plans to have such discussions or pursue such a policy.
- Beaver Local School District
- Columbiana Exempted Village Schools: The district said it’s always discussing safety. A Board of Education member brought up the idea of teachers carrying guns and nothing is off the table, but so far, the district has made no moves to make any changes to safety plan currently in place.
- East Palestine City School District
- Wellsville Local Schools
- Champion Local Schools: The district has not been discussed teachers carrying guns, but other safety measures are in place, such as having a school resource officer, police nearby, locked entrances, BOLO Sticks and annual intruder drills and ALICE training.
- Girard City Schools
- Howland Local Schools: The district has not discussed arming teachers but says the police station is yards away so there is a good response time if an emergency arises. There is also a school resource officer school, staff members complete ALICE training and all entrances are secured.
- Hubbard Exempted Village Schools
- Joseph Badger Schools
- Lakeview Local Schools: The district has not discussed arming teachers but says a full-time school resource officer is there to tackle any issues in a preventative way.
- Liberty Local Schools: The district has not discussed such a plan, although the superintendent says he is in favor of developing a program like this.
- Lordstown Local School District
- Maplewood Schools
- Mathews Schools
- McDonald Local School District
- Newton Falls Exempted Village School District
- Niles City Schools
- Warren City Schools: The issue has not been discussed, but five full-time Warren police officers are employed as school resource officers.
- Weathersfield Local Schools: The district has not discussed arming teachers but says it counsels and works with students as a preventative measure.
The following schools have discussed letting teachers carry guns but have not implemented a plan to do so:
- Jackson-Milton Local School District: The district talked about possibly one or two employees in each building carrying guns, but there has been no formal vote. Each school building has a full-time school resource officer. Administrators carrying firearms is not off the table, and the topic might come up for discussion again.
- Springfield Local School District: The district entertained the idea, but as of right now, it is not pursuing anything. School officials gathered information but have not pursued beyond that. A school resource officer is in the building.
- Struthers City Schools: The district felt arming staff could complicate or escalate an already volatile situation. It opted instead for increased police presence during the school days and additional safety measures.
- Crestview Local School District: The district decided to employ a deputy resource officer — an off-duty Columbiana County Sheriff’s deputy — instead of letting teachers carry weapons.
- Leetonia Exempted Village School District: Other safety measures are in place, including a school resource officer, panic buttons, door locks and police nearby.
- Lisbon Exempted Village Schools: The district feels that first responders could get into the building quickly because it is not an isolated, rural school. There are two courthouses in town, Highway Patrol barracks in the district and a local police department.
- Salem City Schools: At this point, the district has not made any decisions. It is just gathering information on the topic.
- Bristol Local School District: The district says it isn’t comfortable with anyone except a trained police officer carrying a gun in the school. It is currently implementing upgrades to security in the building and exploring other avenues to protect students and staff.
- Brookfield Local School District: The district says it has a liability for unintentional injuries and is worried about the potential for error and life-ending mistakes. Instead, of arming teachers, it implemented behind-the-scenes measures to help fast-track responses in an emergency.
- LaBrae Local School District: The district thinks asking staff who are not trained professionals to be in a situation where they have to make a quick decision is not a viable solution. It says it has a good working relationship with the local township police department, which has a good emergency response time.
When questioned about its plan, Lowellville Local Schools would not share information, saying discussions about the school’s safety plan are closed to the public per Ohio Revised Code.
East Liverpool City Schools did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
On WKBN 27 First News This Morning, WKBN spoke with superintendents from two local districts who made very different decisions on arming teachers. You can watch that interview here.