DeWine signs House Bill 99 into law; Schools permitted to arm staff with reduced training

COLUMBUS — A controversial bill that allows armed teachers and other adults in Ohio schools with reduced training has been signed into law by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, the governor announced during a news conference Monday.

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House Bill 99 was signed by the governor a week after the bill passed both the House and Senate. The law now allows Ohio schools to arm teachers or other employees with up to 24 hours of training.

Each member of a school defense team would be required to meet the minimum training and have yearly criminal background checks.

The law does not require schools to participate and schools can choose to either opt-in or opt-out. Additionally, districts that participate can choose to require more training that is outside the state required training.

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The bill calls for a heavy reduction in the required training for a teacher or adult to carry a gun on school property. Previous legislation required adults, teacher or staff members, to become peace officers with over 700 hours of educational training and courses.

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The training would include how to stop an active shooter, how to de-escalate a violent situation, trauma and first-aid care, at least four hours in “scenario-based or simulated training exercises,” and completing ‘tactical live firearms training.’

Additionally, the law will now require all schools in the state to establish a behavioral threat assessment program and training, and will provide funding for schools to establish those programs. Additional funding included in the bill provides money for other mental health programs and money for districts that don’t have a school safety tip line to connect into a statewide school safety tip line, DeWine said.

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The bill, before it was signed into law, sparked debate from many sides, with some districts already indicating they’ll opt-out of the plan. Both Dayton City Commissioners and Kettering city leaders urged DeWine to veto the bill after it passed the House and Senate.

Democratic governor candidate Nan Whaley, and former Dayton mayor, issued a response on Twitter, criticizing DeWine for signing the bill into law.

This is a developing story and this story will be updated shortly.

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