Hundreds pack Upper Arlington High School Auditorium to talk violence, gun safety

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UPPER ARLINGTON, Ohio - It was standing room only on Monday in the auditorium at Upper Arlington High School while questions and concerns of parents and teachers were aired out.

Upper Arlington Schools Superintendent Paul Imhoff as well as Upper Arlington Police Chief Tracy Hahn and Fire Chief Lyn Nofziger answered the questions that ranged from active shooters and metal detectors to police officers in schools and arming teachers.

"I think everybody thinks about them," said Amy Frecker who teaches at Hastings Middle School.

She said the topics discussed were things she thinks about daily.

"I think everybody has to be heard and listened to and all options have to be discussed," she said.

When the question came up if Upper Arlington Schools would arm teachers Imhoff said, "Never."

Police Chief Hahn said it could take years to properly train teachers with a firearm.

She also told the crowd that teachers are at the schools to teach, not to carry weapons.

"Oh, I think that is the worst idea that anybody has, arming a teacher," Michelle Rapp said.

Rapp says arming teachers, aside from the lack of training, could do psychological damage to them if they ever had to defend themselves or their students.

She finds the discussion sad, but necessary.

"I'm sitting here in an auditorium and we're talking about how to protect our kids from gun violence in their school," she said. "This shouldn't even be on our radar."

She has two children in the school system, in seventh and eighth grade. She said she supports the Second Amendment but said there's got to be a better way, like legislation and background checks, to protect children.

"I don't want to take any guns out of anybody's hands, but let's just be a little more sensible," she said.

Dean Rieck, who is the executive director of Buckeye Firearms Association, said it is sad that Imhoff's mind is closed to finding out more information on how arming teachers could save lives.

Rieck said in Ohio, 1,300 teachers have gone through the training in 76 of the state's 88 counties. He said 2,000 teachers and staff are currently on the waiting list to receive training.