A school district in Logan County is in early discussions about placing guns in schools for teachers and staff members in case of an active shooter situation.
The Riverside Local School board members discussed the issue last week and plan to revisit it on Dec. 16, as well as hold public forums. Superintendent Scott Mann said he hopes this policy could be used as a deterrent from potential threats.
“If people know you are protected and that can help us a little bit more, I’m all for it,” Mann said. “Just to reiterate — it’s going to be a community decision.”
Mann has talked with Logan County Sheriff Andrew Smith about the issue and both agreed extensive training and research would go along with any decision.
“Mr. Mann’s staff has been very proactive in school safety plans,” Smith said.
School board members have discussed arming teachers in the classroom, as well as placing firearms secured in lock boxes around the building.
Mann said he wouldn’t support having teachers carrying concealed firearms.
“I do not want guns on teachers in the classroom,” Mann said. “I think that’s one of the worst safety plans you can have.”
Rather he is interested in the district using a system similar to that of Sidney City Schools.
Sidney schools placed 30 loaded hand guns strategically around its seven school buildings. Each weapon is locked in a box that can only be opened by a fingerprint.
Twenty-seven staff members and seven security officers are trained as first responders to an active shooter situation and can access the guns.
Sidney Superintendent John Scheu said the district places a lot of resources in school safety.
“If a shooting can take place in an Amish school in Pennsylvania, it can happen here in Sidney or any other place,” Scheu said.
The program is in its second full year and Scheu said the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
Discussions are still in the infancy stages at Riverside and Mann said he hasn’t received feedback from the community so far. He said he plans to hold community forums to get public input if the issue advances with the board.
Samuel Schaffner, a 1979 graduate of the school system, said he would be in favor of putting guns in lock boxes in the building, but not arming teachers in classrooms.
“Nowadays it is different than when I went to school. You have kids with more problems,” Schaffner said. “You just never know what goes through their mind.”