AG Says He Supports Arming At Least 1 School Staff Member To Be ‘First Responder’


UPDATED: Wednesday December 19, 2012 6:48 PM

The state is expanding safety training for Ohio educators to reflect the reality that those inside a school are the first to face danger.

Attorney General Mike DeWine said Wednesday that nothing short of barricading every school in the country can stop something from happening, but officials have a moral obligation to take steps that will increase the odds of children surviving.

DeWine says the state police training academy will train educators across the state in how to deal with an active shooter.

He said it was not immediately clear if the safety training would include how to use a gun.

The Attorney General also said that school districts should consider arming at least one staff member in buildings in case of a shooter.

DeWine said that his office usually trains police but that the threats at school today are so “unbelievable” that training should be extended to teachers.

“I’m not saying everyone’s school should be armed, but someone who knows exactly what they are doing and who has that gun under lock and key but can get to it instantly out of their office, that is something I think I should at least debate and talk about.”

10TV News asked DeWine whether he would support arming teachers, and said that he believed the decision should be a local one but one that he could support.

"The truth is that while we train first responders the real first responders in these tragedies are teachers. They are the ones who are there,” DeWine said. “They are the ones who are going to make the life and death decisions.”

DeWine said that he planned to open up his School Safety Task Force to make recommendations on school safety policies.

“We are expanding out school safety task force to not only include more educators but also to include people in the mental health community,” DeWine said on Wednesday.

Wednesday's announcement follows last week's massacre at a Connecticut elementary school and last February's school shooting in Chardon.

The Ohio Education Association released a response to DeWine’s statements on Wednesday evening.

“Teachers and other school employees should not be asked to serve a dual role, armed with concealed weapons to face school intruders as Mr. DeWine suggests. We are focused on student success and providing quality education to students,” The OEA stated in an email release.

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