Ohio to purchase ‘shoot houses’ to train armed school employees

Ohio wants to purchase two mobile “shoot houses” to train Ohio school employees approved to carry a gun in schools.

The Ohio School Safety Center is asking to buy two units for a total of $78,000 from Kontek Industries, a security service based in North Carolina.

Armed school staff are required to undergo at least four hours of scenario-based training before they can carry a gun at a school, said Jay Carey, spokesman for the Ohio School Safety Center. The units would be used for this kind of training.

In Ohio, any non-police school staff who wants to legally access a gun in a school must be approved by the district and the safety center. The state requires an initial, 24-hour training course and an additional eight-hour course each year for recertification, called Armed School Staff Essential Training or ASSET.

The safety center has moveable canvas walls that can be moved to simulate responding to an active shooter at a school, Carey said, but the modular units are better. The modular units have windows and doors, so staff can practice opening doors and looking through windows.

“The more realistic we can make the training, the better prepared armed school staff will be to respond to an active shooter,” Carey said.

The mobile shoot houses can be set up inside or outside, Carey said, and depending on what kind of training is being done, could be set up at a school if the staff is training without loaded guns, or at a gun range if the staff are working with loaded guns.

Area schools have certified teachers, administrators and security officers who don’t work for the police department on their armed response teams.

Carey said 67 districts or schools in 36 counties have registered armed response teams. Ohio has more than 610 public school districts, plus hundreds of charter and private schools, so the number of districts opting into the program is less than 10%.

Locally, some of the districts with armed response teams are Mad River Local, New Lebanon and Madison Local.

But not every school approved by the Ohio School Safety Center is arming their teachers or administrators. The Greater Dayton School and the Miami Valley Career Technology Center both are listed, but officials from each school have said teachers are not armed at those buildings. Instead, names of security staff had been submitted.

In June 2021, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that for teachers to have access to guns in school, they need to undergo the same amount of training that police officers do — roughly 700 hours.

In September 2022, legislation passed that would allow staffers selected by the school district’s board of education to undergo at least 24 hours of training before they could access guns in a school building, with eight recertification hours required each year.

About the Author