The Springboro school board decided Thursday night to have the district's policy committee discuss the issue of allowing teachers or other school staff to possibly carry guns at schools.
School board member Jim Rigano opened the discussion in the wake of school shootings in Chardon, Ohio, Newtown, Connecticut and Taft, California. Rigano said the board had informal discussions about the issue following the shooting at a school in Chardon in 2011. "I think we have to ask the question: Are we doing enough," Rigano said at Thursday evening's meeting.
Rigano said he believes teachers or other staff who have Concealed Carry Permits should be able to carry a gun at school. He also said he believed any staff member granted permission to do should have further training. "If they were to carry a concealed weapon would that be a deterrent? And I think it would be," Rigano said.
Opinions from parents differ on the issue of arming teachers. "I would be comfortable if they had gone through a lot of training. I'm retired military, we used guns, my son got his first deer this year we are not opposed to guns but I don't want somebody in there that's just going to go off like the Lone Ranger," said Stephanie Bindemann.
Mike Hougon, a father of three and former police officer, spoke at the board meeting. He believes anyone with a CCW permit should be allowed to carry a gun at a school. "I think that anyone a law-abiding American with a CCW permit should be able to carry their gun concealed," Hougon said. He added, "Gun-free zones are a killing zone. They are a risk-free, target-rich environment for psychopaths."
But others, including the school district's superintendent, say the idea is a non-starter. "I have no intention to arm teachers here in Springboro. I think it's great our board is searching out alternative options to make sure our kids are as safe as possible," said superintendent Todd Petrey.
Becky Dittmer, who teaches in Kettering, opposes arming teachers. "I'm not sold that that's a good idea. I myself would not feel comfortable having a gun in school."
Jim Rigano added, "I don't want this to turn into another idle conversation with no decision point."
The policy committee will hold several meetings and discuss arming teachers and other school staff with parents, teachers and law enforcement. The committee would then draft a policy on the issue - which would outline the decision to arm teachers or not.