The Montpelier Exempted Village Schools Board of Education on Wednesday voted 5-0 to allow its custodial staff to carry handguns on school property.
The affirmative vote will allow four custodians to take handgun training and carry handguns at the K-12 campus at Williams County School. The School board had been considering arming employees for nearly six months but first announced the plans during Wednesday’s meeting.
School officials say having armed personnel on campus will help prevent incidents like the tragic shooting in Newtown, Conn. in December. The school system is believed to be the first in Ohio to allow staff to be armed.
The school district will reportedly pay for a two-day training class March for the employees. Instructors with the Tactical Defense Institute of West Union, Ohio, will give them a defense class on handgun use in Montpelier.
“Sitting back and doing nothing and hoping it doesn’t happen to you is just not good policy anymore,” Superintendent Jamie Grime told The Toledo Blade. “There is a need for schools to beef up their security measures…Having guns in the hands of the right people are not a hindrance. They are a means to protect.”
School board President Larry Martin said the Sandy Hook massacre, in which 20 children and six staff were killed, expedited the school board’s decision to arm its staff.
“Our main goal is to offer safety for our students while they are in the classrooms and in the building,” he said. “We have to do something and this seems like the most logical, reasonable course to go with.”
“Mr. Grime said their legal counsel advised that Ohio’s gun law allows for school boards to authorize employees to possess weapons on school grounds if they pass the requirements of the concealed-carry law,” The Blade reports.