Press "Enter" to skip to content

School Safety


Less training makes arming teachers more dangerous

/ Perspective, school safety

Cincinnati Enquirer – Sara DeMuch |

“It’s unrealistic to expect a teacher in a high stress situation to not only protect their class and their students but also be responsible for taking out a school shooter. The majority of shooters have a connection to the school, so not only are you asking a teacher to shoot someone, you’re also asking them to possibly shoot a former or current student…. As a teacher who spends hours collecting data, checking facts and figures, and planning instruction using research-based methods, I’m tired of my students and I being held to a higher standard than our representatives.”

Sara DeMuch

Sara DeMuch is a high school teacher in an Ohio public school, mother of two children who attend Ohio public schools, and a volunteer lead with the Ohio chapter of Moms Demand Action.

Read the full opinion piece at the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Ohio schools ask state supreme court to support armed personnel

/ frontpage, legal, Ohio, school safety

Ohio Capital Journal |

Arguing for their right to arm school personnel, 17 schools from 11 counties in Ohio asked the Ohio Supreme Court to allow them to continue using firearms as an option for student safety. Four of the schools came from Shelby County, two each represented Hardin and Montgomery counties, and one district each from Tuscarawas, Williams, Adams, Morgan, Noble, Coshocton and Portage counties were listed on a brief to the court.

The schools are asking for the state’s highest court to reverse an appeals court decision that said state law did not allow boards of education to allow armed personnel without training on the same level as police and security officers.

(more…)

MCS Football parent arrested during middle school game – mask non-compliance leads to arrest after refusing to leave

/ coronavirus, Ohio, school safety, sports

Marietta Times and WCMH Columbus |

A Marietta City Schools parent was detained and arrested following noncompliance with state mask mandates during an eighth-grade football game at Logan Wednesday evening according to MCS Athletic Director Cody Venderlic.

In a statement, the Logan-Hocking Local School District identified the woman as a fan of the opposing team. The opponent in the game was Marietta.

In a news release Monday morning, Logan police identified the woman as Alicia Kitts and the officer as School Resource Officer Chris Smith. The statement asserts that Kitts was not tased for failing to wear a mask but for failing for comply with Smith’s request that she leave.

This morning, Logan schools were placed on lockout after receiving threats district-wide, according to superintendent Monte Bainter. Law enforcement is investigating, and it is believed the threats are related to the incident at the game.

Shots fired call causes brief lockdown of Lakota junior high school

/ school safety, SW Ohio

Journal-News |

When the shots fired incident happened, it was after school hours, but Liberty Junior School was placed on lockdown for those still on the grounds, according to Betsy Fuller, spokeswoman for Lakota Schools.

“Liberty Junior School went into an immediate lockdown for all students and staff who were on campus for extracurricular activities. Local law enforcement arrived immediately and the lockdown was lifted approximately 25 minutes later,” Fuller said.

Edgewood City Schools closed Wednesday after 15-year-old makes threat toward school, officials say

/ school safety, SW Ohio

WLWT |

Butler County deputies arrested a 15-year-old boy for allegedly threatening to shoot up his high school. It was first thought there might be a second person involved but deputies ruled that out.

Someone saw an online post and tipped off police.

Avoiding Another Tragedy: Local program wins innovation award for school threat assessment

/ school safety, SW Ohio

WKRC |

The School-based Threat Assessment program just received the Ohio Bar Association’s coveted Innovation Court Practices Award.

Created by John William, administrative judge for Hamilton County’s Juvenile Court System along with court psychologist Dr. Nicole Leisgang, the tool is designed to differentiate kids who were less likely to carry out a threat from those who are more likely to do so. Dr. Leisgang also designed treatments for each group.

Northwest Local Schools, for instance, used the program last school year to determine a student who had uttered a threat was a low risk for carrying it out. The student was treated then returned to school instead of ending up in the system.

Since the implementation of the program, Hamilton County has not seen a single case of school violence. There are now efforts to replicate Williams’ program in other counties across the country.

Ohio AG files brief in support of school districts letting employees go armed

/ legal, Ohio, school safety

Ohio Capital Journal |

Ohio’s Attorney General Dave Yost this week put his support behind a Butler County school district’s policy to arm school personnel.

“This case presents the question whether school districts may allow non-security employees to carry firearms on school grounds,” Yost wrote in a brief to the court. “The answer is yes.”

Yost filed the brief as an interested party in the case of Gabbard v. Madison Local School District Board of Education, a case in which parents at the school sued to keep the school from implementing such a policy.

Trained, armed teachers ready to defend kids

/ Perspective, school safety

The Enquirer – Hank Meiners |

“It is obvious to me that many people simply do not understand the concept behind armed teachers in the classroom. I am one of those teachers who has been trained to be armed in the classroom, and I can assure you that training is long, detailed and extensive.”

Hank Meiners

Hank Meiners is a retired aerospace engineer and a retired part-time school teacher with both the Hamilton and Clermont County Educational Service Centers.

Hours of opposition testimony, three hearings, lead to committee passage of school firearms policy bill

/ legislation, Ohio, school safety

Ohio Capital Journal |

The Ohio Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee, chaired by Coley, passed SB 317 along party lines Tuesday, after more lengthy spoken opposition testimony.

SB 317 allows school districts to enact firearms policies for personnel.

Ohio Supreme Court: Madison schools can arm teachers as students return to classes

/ legal, school safety, SW Ohio

The Ohio Supreme Court granted Madison Local School District’s request to allow the implementation of a policy allowing trained personnel including teachers to be armed on school grounds Wednesday.

(more…)

How one teacher equips students to stop trafficking before it starts

/ Ohio, school safety, Solutions

Christian Science Monitor |

When Ohio mandated five years ago that public school staff receive training on human trafficking (ORC 3319.073 (B) – without providing any money or much direction – Toledo Public Schools’ teacher Mona Al-Hayani developed a curriculum for the district, trained more than 20,000 students and educators in how to identify risk factors, connected the schools to local advocacy groups, and has started offering training for nearby communities.

(more…)

Watchdog report challenges Trump administration school safety recommendations

/ BigPicture, school safety

Education Dive |

  • The Government Accountability Office released a report calling into question the Trump administration’s overturning of Obama-era “Rethink School Discipline” guidance meant to curb the disproportionate impact of punitive school discipline policies on students of color. The guidance favored the social, emotional and behavioral needs of students over suspensions and expulsions in order to make school environments more equitable. 
  • In 2018, the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice axed the “Dear Colleague” letter, shortly after President Donald Trump’s Federal Commission on School Safety released a report saying the Obama administration’s efforts to address racial disparities in school discipline policies made schools unsafe.
  • The GAO report debunks that claim, finding most school-targeted shootings take place in higher-income, low-minority areas, and that there was no research from 2009-2019 examining any connection between school discipline policies and school shootings. 

Ohio Senate committee passes dropout recovery funding

Ohio Capital Journal |

A bill originally written to create school violence prevention groups will now also bring temporary financial relief to dropout recovery and prevention e-schools if passed. The Senate Education Committee spent its last meeting before a summer break passing House Bill 123 with an added amendment supported by the governor.

The bill was created to require local school districts to designate a student-led violence prevention club for each school building serving grades 6 through 12, but after amendment, the bill will “permit” but not require those clubs. 

The major amendment added to the bill in its seventh hearing, in which it was also passed on for a full Senate vote, creates a temporary funding formula for e-schools who are also a part of the state’s dropout prevention and recovery program. The funding would be specifically for the 2020-2021 school year.

Why There’s A Push To Get Police Out Of Schools

/ BigPicture, school safety

WOSU |

Data show that schools with cops are more likely to refer children to law enforcement, including for non-serious violent behaviors. In 43 states and the District of Columbia, Black students are more likely to be arrested than other students while at school, according to an analysis by the Education Week Research Center.

Police in Schools: Push at Cincinnati Public Schools to remove officers

/ school safety, SW Ohio

WKRC |

School board member Ben Lindy is asking the administration to take a look at the current model and relationship the district has with the Cincinnati Police Department and take a look at other options and then compare.

Currently, 16 Cincinnati Police officers serve as school resource officers in all 52 Cincinnati Public schools. They also check in with other public and parochial schools in the city.

Understanding and Using Research on Gun Policy in America

RAND |

Responding to feedback from teachers and colleagues, RAND researchers developed a unit plan centered on those resources. The unit is designed to help high school educators and students — who are increasingly interested in joining the conversation about gun policy and mobilized to respond to gun violence — access the high-quality, evidence-based materials on the website.

The researchers’ overarching goals in developing the unit are to guide students to understand existing research related to gun policy and deeply consider the complexity of gun policy–related issues.

Why is this important? In Ohio, lawmakers are currently debating 33 gun bills (Dayton Daily News).

An Interdisciplinary Unit Plan Based on RAND’s Gun Policy in America Website, Suggested Grades 10–12.

Legislature considering lowering standards for armed teachers despite failed history of legislation

/ legislation, Ohio, school safety

Ohio Capital Journal |

Senate Bill 317 is currently sitting in the Government Oversight and Reform committee, the chair of which, state Sen. Bill Coley, is the bill’s sponsor. The bill would provide exceptions to current law barring possession of firearms in “school safety zones,” which include school property, school-sponsored activities and buses. Those exceptions would include security officers employed by a board of education, or those with written authorization from the board of education or school district governing body.

The bill comes after the 12th District Court of Appeals disagreed with a lower court that the Madison Local School District, in Coley’s home county of Butler, could pass a resolution allowing district employees to carry concealed firearms into school safety zones.

Columbus City Schools to reevaluate police resource officers

/ Ohio, school safety, social-justice

The Columbus Dispatch |

Columbus City Schools will hold off negotiating a new contract to deploy school resource officers in its buildings following demands from some students, alumni and families that the district end its relationship with the Columbus Division of Police.

The district will announce members of a working group who will evaluate its overall approach to safety and security, Columbus Board of Education President Jennifer Adair announced Tuesday. The goal is for employees, families and students to participate, Adair said.

‘Defunding the Police’ — and Shifting Resources From Law Enforcement to Schools — Gains Momentum in the Wake of Protests

The 74 Million |

The most immediate effect of the current push is likely to be felt in school districts that cut ties with local law enforcement. This is especially true in Minneapolis, where Floyd was killed May 25: The city’s public schools have already voted to remove “school resource officers” — armed law enforcement agents — from campuses.

Defund police in schools? How the movement got momentum after George Floyd’s death

The Columbus Dispatch |

From Chicago, New York and Los Angeles to smaller cities like Rochester, New York; Columbus, Ohio; and Portland, Maine and Fort Collins, Colorado, students and activists are demanding the discontinuation of school resource officers. They want the money spent on those programs to go to other peacekeeping strategies.

Police in schools contribute to the marginalization of students of color, they say. That’s because schools with large populations of black and brown students are more likely to have law enforcement on site, and in those places, students are more likely to be arrested for certain behaviors, rather than disciplined by an administrator.

Call for the end of police presence in Columbus City Schools

/ Ohio, school safety, social-justice

The Columbus Dispatch |

More than 2,500 community members, teachers, and parents demand that Columbus City Schools end its relationship with Columbus police.

During the 2019-20 school year, there were 19 school resource officers, two sergeants and three truancy officers working with Columbus City Schools, according to district spokesman Scott Wortman.

About 46% of public schools in the nation use school resource officers, who are police officers with the authority to make arrests, according to a report on the 2017-2018 school year from the National Center for Education Statistics.

For Years Before George Floyd’s Death, Schools Were Urged to Cut Ties With Police.

The 74 Million |

Inside the Student Campaign That Convinced Minneapolis to Act — and Sparked a Nationwide Trend

On Thursday, Portland, Oregon, Public Schools said it was discontinuing the use of police in its schools. 

In Rochester, New York, the city budget currently under consideration would put an end to placing police officers in schools, something students have been pushing for, according to the Democrat & Chronicle.

And in Denver, Board of Education Vice President Jennifer Bacon and Secretary Tay Anderson announced a resolution Friday that calls for all police to be removed from the schools by year’s end.

The good-guy image police present to students often clashes with students’ reality

The Conversation |

When the police that students see in their schools are saying one thing, but the police on the street are doing something else, it puts students in a position where an authority figure is asking them to believe something that blatantly contradicts their own reality.

Madison school district appeals over training hours for armed school staff

/ legal, Ohio, school safety

News Journal – Wilmington, Ohio |

The district has appealed a state appeals court ruling that they must provide police-level training to employees carrying concealed weapons. Several other school districts and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office have filed briefs in support of Madison’s appeal.

Central Ohio school districts share action plans regarding COVID-19

/ coronavirus, Ohio, school safety

via This Week Community News |

Central Ohio school districts in ThisWeek Community News’ coverage area were asked about their actions regarding the virus — specifically, the following questions:

  1. What are the immediate-action plan and communication plan if an outbreak should occur?
  2. What precautions are the district taking now, such as field trips, athletics and other extracurriculars?
  3. What plans does the district have to keep up with classwork should an outbreak force long-term closure?
  4. What additional information should residents in your district be aware of?
(more…)

Winton Woods City Schools Participating in National Say Something Call-to-Action Week

/ school safety, SW Ohio

via Winton Woods City Schools |

During the week of March 2-6, Winton Woods schools participated in National Say Something Call-to-Action Week, a week dedicated to teaching students in grades 5-12 how to look for warning signs, signals and threats, especially in social media, from individuals who may want to harm themselves or others and to say something to a trusted adult to get them help.

The Say Something Call-to-Action program is based on the research of Dr. Dewey Cornell and Dr. Reid Meloy, two national experts in threat assessment and intervention. Their findings indicate that when it comes to violence, suicide and threats, that issues are usually known by at least one other individual before the incident occurs.

National Say Something Week is in partnership with Sandy Hook Promise, a national, nonprofit organization.

Read more at Winton Woods City Schools.

Middletown: Safety Update: Thank You Staff, Students, and Police

/ school safety, SW Ohio

via Middletown City Schools |

As a district, we want to thank our staff, our students, and our local police departments for their quick action. We want to thank our parents who cooperated with us. We want to assure you the safety of our students and staff is our first priority.

Middletown City Schools

CPS Board Members Want Traffic Cameras In School Zones

/ school safety, SW Ohio

via WVXU |

The school board passed a resolution during Monday night’s board meeting that would allow the city to install cameras in school zones. But city voters are the ones with the last word on if this could be implemented.

Schools brainstorm plans if new coronavirus hits Cincy area, including learning from home

/ coronavirus, school safety, SW Ohio

via Cincinnati Enquirer |

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that, for areas without a COVID-19 case, like Ohio and Kentucky, “the most important thing for schools to do now is plan and prepare,” according to its website, which offered the guidance late last week.

How would Northeast Ohio schools handle a coronavirus outbreak?

/ coronavirus, Ohio, school safety

via Cleveland.com |

Schools are making plans in case the COVID-19 coronavirus spreads to Northeast Ohio, mostly based on government authorities and guidelines.

(more…)

COVID-19 Local and State Resources

Hamilton County Public Health (HCPH), as one of 113 local health departments in Ohio, is part of a highly-organized prevention and response effort for the coronavirus, or COVID-19 outbreak.

The agency is in lockstep with the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in managing protocols for prevention and if necessary, mitigation of cases of COVID-19.

(more…)

Ohio to provide training grants on preventing school violence

/ Ohio, school safety

via WFMJ |

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost today announced the development of new resources to address gaps in preventing targeted violence in schools.

School resource officers or other law enforcement personnel with responsibilities that include school safety may receive a $500 Ohio School Threat Assessment Training Grant when they complete the training and agree to help form or participate on a school-based threat assessment team.

Kentucky law requiring school security to carry weapons signed

/ Beyond Ohio, school safety

via WKRC |

The measure won bipartisan support in the state House and Senate. It is a follow-up to last year’s sweeping school safety law, which did not specify whether school police officers needed to carry a weapon.

Ohio children feel traumatized by some active shooter drills. Do students need them?

via Cincinnati Enquirer |

“Grown-ups don’t understand what it feels like. Even when they tell me it’s a drill, I still have to hide, so I don’t believe them.”

“In a fire drill, you don’t set a fire.”

Audio: Teacher Unions Question Efficacy Of School Safety Drills

via WVXU |

Joining Cincinnati Edition to discuss school safety drills and how they are implemented in the classroom are American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten; Cincinnati Public Schools Board Member Mike Moroski; Spencer Center for Gifted and Exceptional Students School Counselor Tracy Redding; and Ohio Students for Gun Legislation Executive Director Ethan Nichols.

Surviving a school shooting: ‘The shooting wasn’t the worst thing to happen to me’

/ school safety, SW Ohio, trauma-informed

via Cincinnati Enquirer |

Cameron Smith, now 18, was shot twice while eating lunch at Madison Jr/Sr High School on February 29, 2016 when he was in the eighth grade.

2 Big Teachers Unions Call For Rethinking Student Involvement In Lockdown Drills

/ BigPicture, school safety

via NPR |

The advocacy group Everytown For Gun Safety is joining with the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association — the nation’s largest education unions, with several million members — in calling for schools to reassess the use of lockdown drills.

In a white paper out Tuesday, the groups say they do not recommend active shooter training for students.

SchoolSafety.gov Launches to Help Educators, Administrators, Parents, and Law Enforcement Prepare for Threats

/ school safety, Solutions

via US Department of Education |

A one-stop-shop of resources for K-12 administrators, educators, parents, and law enforcement to use to prepare for and address various threats related to safety, security, and support in schools.

CPS: Teachers angry after active-shooter drill sparked panic

/ school safety, SW Ohio

via WCPO and WVXU |

Some Greater Cincinnati schools embrace proactive, cloud-based facial recognition cameras

/ school safety, SW Ohio

via WLWT |

Unlike cameras that simply record video, this company’s camers create composite images of a person’s face, in a matter of seconds. The camera’s software can also locate footage of one specific kind of vehicle among dozens of vehicles and thousands of video frames.

Unobtrusive gun-detection technology being deployed in Mt. Healthy City School District

/ school safety, SW Ohio, tech

via WLWT |

The district will soon utilize a gun-detection system called PatScan that makes use of machine learning and A.I software along with radar, video, magnetic, and chemical threat detection.

Pickaway County first in Ohio to fully implement school alert app technology

/ school safety, Solutions, SW Ohio, tech

via Lancaster Eagle Gazette |

SchoolGuard is a subscription-based app that district employees can download to allow them to summon help. Help911 is a free app that law enforcement officers (there is a registration and vetting process) can download and get alerts anywhere in the country if they are within an approximate 20- to 25-mile radius from wherever an alert went out.

https://www.lancastereaglegazette.com/story/news/2020/01/11/pickaway-county-first-ohio-fully-implement-school-alert-app-tech/4429902002/

Experts Worry Active Shooter Drills In Schools Could Be Traumatic For Students

/ BigPicture, school safety

An increase in realistic active shooter simulations worry experts as to the impact on staff and students.

Melissa Reeves, a professor at Winthrop University and former president of the National Association of School Psychologists, talked with NPR’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro about changes in how school shooting drills are carried out and her concerns about how drills can impact the psychological development of young children.

Read the full article via NPR.org.

Ohio AG announces $10M in school safety initiatives

/ grants, Ohio, school safety

via WTOL Toledo

Ohio’s schools can now apply for their share of $10 million in school safety grants awarded by Attorney General Dave Yost’s office for the 2019-20 school year.

All public schools, chartered nonpublic school and schools operated by county boards of developmental disabilities are eligible to receive either $2,500 or $4.49 per student, whichever amount is greater.

read the full article available at WTOL

Several Dayton area schools get safety grants; applications are still open

/ Link, school safety, SW Ohio

via Dayton Daily News

More than a dozen local schools and districts have been approved for safety and security grants since July as part of a new Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation program. The B.W.C. awards grants of up to $40,000 each to help schools purchase equipment to improve safety and security and reduce the potential for injuries.

Full article available from the Dayton Daily News.

A powerful day of security training for OHLSD

/ school safety, SW Ohio

via Oak Hills School District

Safety and security training is an ongoing focus for OHLSD, but an Oct. 14 drill by local first responders delivered an especially powerful lesson for district administrators.

Parents may not realize Ohio school safety plans are not public record

/ Ohio, school safety

via WBNS Columbus

The issue is a bit complicated but boils down to the intersection of three laws — school safety plans, concealed carry rules and allowing school districts to authorize having weapons on school grounds — according to Van Keating, senior staff attorney with the Ohio School Boards Association.

By law, every school district in the state of Ohio is required to come up with a safety plan, but those plans are not public record.

“For school district safety plans to be most effective, as much as the public wants to know and parents have concerns, which is very valid, the more the plans are actually public, often the less effective they would be in the event of an emergency,” Keating said.

DeWine Outlines His Plans To Make Ohio’s Schools Safer

/ Ohio, school safety

via WVXU

Governor DeWine signed an executive order to establish the Ohio School Safety Center. The seven member office will focus on being a safety resource for schools and students throughout Ohio. It will work with the Ohio Department of Public Safety.

DeWine says there is training for school personnel who carry weapons in schools but it isn’t required at this point. Specifics about the training school personnel had in this case are not available at this point.

Arming School Personnel

/ BigPicture, legal, school safety

via Ennis Britton Co., L.P.A.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office recently released an opinion in response to a request for legal advice on the issue of arming school staff. The letter requested, among other things, an analysis on how the training requirements under R.C. 109.78(D) apply to school employees authorized by the board of education to carry or possess a deadly weapon on school property under R.C. 2923.122(A).

full article available from Ennis Britton Co., L.P.A.