Blan board votes to OK some staff members to carry firearms beginning next school year

By John Hamilton -

BLANCHESTER — The Blanchester School Board on Monday night unanimously adopted a public resolution permitting trained staff members to carry firearms on campus.

“The Board of Education takes the safety of our children and staff very seriously. We feel that school safety can be dramatically enhanced by allowing certain trained individuals to possess and carry concealed firearms while on duty,” Blanchester Superintendent Dean Lynch told the News Journal.

The School Board and Lynch advised that this would be 100 percent voluntary and any participants would have to go through an extensive process to be approved.

A volunteer would have to submit a resume, the board would then choose who to interview and thoroughly vet a volunteer through his or her references.

They would then have to obtain a concealed-carry license and complete a firearms training course. They also have to provide their own firearm and keep it on their person at all times.

The identity of the approved staff members would remain anonymous so students wouldn’t know who has a gun on campus.

The board has chosen to complete itstraining with “88 Tactical” through the Premier Shooting and Training Center located in West Chester. Funding for the training is provided by House Bill (H.B.) 318 “School Safety Training Grant” which was distributed through Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office in September.

“This training focuses on an active killer response, medical trauma care, mindset, and general school safety and security. Part of the staff training will also be collaborating with our local police department. Individuals staff members will also be required to participate in ongoing training to remain certified to carry a weapon on our campus,” said Lynch.

The training will take place this summer with the board will authorizing staff to carry weapons beginning in the fall of 2019.

The idea of arming staff members was discussed as far back as March. During their July meeting, School Board Vice President Kyle Wilson said they wanted to hear feedback from the public, and the main motivation for this was to protect the students and staff.

After the approval, Wilson thanked members of the community for sharing their thoughts and support.

By John Hamilton

Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574

Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574