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Arming School Staff Prudently

Indian Creek Local School District officials are considering a drastic step intended to protect students: allowing some staff members to carry guns while at work.

“We never thought in this day and age that we’d have to discuss this,” commented Board of Education member Kim Mark after the board voted 5-0 to consider such action. “This isn’t just a fly-by-night decision,” Mark added. She said it has been discussed for six to seven years.

Obviously, being able to counter an armed assailant inside a school quickly and decisively can save lives. That is one reason many schools employ resource officers, who are professional law enforcement personnel. They cannot be everywhere in a school, however.

Board members already have discussed the matter with Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla and Wintersville Police Chief Art Fowler Jr. Much more deliberation is needed before the school system can move forward safely, however.

Ohio law allows school systems to permit certain staff members to carry firearms while on the job. A number of schools have taken that step.

Numerous potential problems need to be addressed, of course. They range from ensuring staff members are trained adequately to use guns if the need arises to keeping firearms in schools absolutely secure. Each and every challenge must be dealt with as comprehensively as is humanly possible.

Schools remain relatively safe places. But it takes just one murderous surprise to make educators wish they had done more to keep students safe. Before moving forward, Indian Creek school officials simply must assure the action they are considering does that — and not the opposite.

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