Another Ohio school board goes public: Armed, trained staff members already in place!

by Chad D. Baus

The Superintendent of Noble Local Schools in Noble County, Ohio has made the choice to go public with a part of their safety plan. From a post to the school Facebook page:

“We are NOT soft targets!”

Given the recent school shootings across the country, with the most recent occurring just last week in Florida, I hope this information serves as a reminder of the many things we have done in the NLSD to increase safety and security, including, but not limited to, permitting trained staff members to be armed throughout the day.

The NLSD Board of Education adopted policies and procedures for certain, trained staff members to be “armed” while at school. The Board approved these policies and procedures in August 2017 and was implemented beginning with the 2017-18 school year. Noble Local currently has 11-trained staff members who meet and maintain requirements established in law, and through our local safety committee, to conceal and carry while present on campus. We currently have plans to train 4-5 additional staff members this summer prior to the start of the 18-19 school year.

Among many requirements, qualified staff members must hold a valid Ohio CCW license, successfully completed a minimum of 24 hours of Active Shooter Training through the “FASTER SAVES LIVES” program (Faculty Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response), possess a notarized handgun qualification certificate, and must have had mental preparation in the response to active shooters/killers.

On Monday night, the East Guernsey Local Board of Education in Guernsey County took action to incorporate armed, trained staff members into their safety plan.

In Streetsboro, the mayor is proposing a school levy that would place two armed guards inside every school in the district.

In Wayne County, Sheriff Travis Hutchinson's office used their Daily Update video brief to detail why they advocate for armed teachers and/or staff in the school.

In Butler Co., Ohio, Sheriff Rick Jones has made international news after calling for armed teachers in schools, and then advertising a free class for them to get concealed handgun license training. In less than 48 hours, more than 300 teachers applied for 50 available seats.

In response to the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, which claimed the lives of 20 children and 6 adult staff members, Buckeye Firearms Foundation launched an emergency response training program here in Ohio for teachers, administrators, and other school staff.

Called FASTER Saves Lives (Faculty/Administrator Safety Training & Emergency Response), the nonprofit program has to date provide high-level training to nearly 1300 teachers and staff members from 225 school districts in 12 states. This includes teachers and staff in 76 of Ohio's 88 counties.

"The response from Ohio educators has been more enthusiastic than we could have ever imagined," said Joe Eaton, FASTER Program Director.

"When we first announced that we planned to train teachers in armed response and emergency medical aid," Eaton continued, "some people said teachers would never sign up. But within days of announcing the program, we had 600 apply for training. In weeks, it soared to over 1,000. Today we have nearly 2,000 faculty members from all over Ohio waiting in line for a chance to get this training. And more are contacting us every day."

The enthusiasm for this program has gone far beyond Ohio. School staff from six other states have attended FASTER training. In addition, instructors from as far away as Colorado have traveled to Ohio to see how the program works and take the idea back to their home state.

Created by concerned parents, law enforcement, and nationally-recognized safety and medical experts, FASTER is a groundbreaking, nonprofit program that gives educators practical violence response training.

The program is funded by thousands of small, individual donations to Buckeye Firearms Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable educational organization based in Ohio and the sister organization to Buckeye Firearms Association. Classes can be provided at NO COST to school personnel or school districts.

The program presents a carefully-structured curriculum with over 30 hours of hands-on training over a 3-day class that exceeds the requirements of the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy.

The purpose is not to replace police and EMT, but to allow teachers, administrators, and other personnel on-site to stop school violence rapidly and render medical aid immediately. It is a well-established fact that faster response to school shootings and other violence results in fewer lives lost.

Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Secretary and an NRA-certified firearms instructor. He is co-founder of BFA-PAC, and served as its Vice Chairman for 15 years. He is the editor of BuckeyeFirearms.org, which received the Outdoor Writers of Ohio 2013 Supporting Member Award for Best Website.