Ohio governor signs bill allowing schools to arm staff

Mike DeWine.
(Image credit: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) on Monday signed into law a bill allowing school districts in the state to begin arming employees as soon as this fall if they so choose, The Associated Press reports.

DeWine said he'd rather districts hire armed resource officers, but described the new law — which again, is optional and not a requirement — as just another way of protecting students. It's about "giving schools an option," DeWine said, "based on their particular circumstances, to make the best decision they can make with the best information they have."

As enacted, the new rule requires that any prospective armed employee first undergo 24 hours of training, followed by another eight hours annually. Training programs must also be approved by the Ohio School Safety Center.

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In addition to the armed employee provision, DeWine also outlined several other safety initiatives he and lawmakers have promoted, including "$100 million for school security upgrades in schools," "$5 million for upgrades at colleges," $1.2 billion in wellness funding," and added school safety center employees, AP reports.

The new law is "opposed by major law enforcement groups, gun control advocates, and the state's teachers unions", but "supported by a handful of police departments and school districts," AP writes.

Notably, the Ohio rule arrives not long after a gunman opened fire inside an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, killing 21, including 19 children.

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