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State Board Hears Ways To Boost School Safety

Top Ohio law enforcers are urging members of the state school board not to support arming untrained teachers with guns in response to recent school shootings, including one last year in northeast Ohio.

Ohio’s top law enforcers addressed members of the state school board as it considers how to best update its school safety polices.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Public Safety Director Tom Charles said during a Tuesday briefing that more weapons in school would heighten the risks.

Chardon Local Schools Superintendent Joseph Bergant, II, urged the Ohio School Board not to support arming teachers with guns.

"I am 200 percent against it. I don't think adding weapons to a school environment will do any good,” said Bergant.

In February 2012, a teenager shot and killed three students and wounded three others at Chardon High School.

Bergant shared recommendations based on what he learned.

"I'm telling you like it is. Unfortunately, I'm a member of a group I didn't want to be part of, and I will forever be part of that group,” said Bergant.

His top recommendation for school districts is to have active shooter drills, complete with how to reunite students with parents in the midst of the chaos.

"We practiced the drill like it would, if it would ever happen,” said Bergant, “And thank God we did that - because it really saved other lives."

Bergant, as well as the others, stressed that a mental health component be a part of any school safety plan.

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