Ohio school board votes to arm janitors in wake of Newtown
The Montpelier Exempted Village Schools Board of Education voted unanimously this week to approve arming school janitors with deadly weapons as a response to the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, according to a Thursday report in The Toledo Blade.
Custodial staff who carry weapons will be required to undergo a two day training course at the private Ohio-based weapons training facility Tactical Defense Institute, according to a memo to parents (PDF) issued by Superintendent Dr. Jamison J. Grime.
The memo also said that school officials worked in secret for six months with local law enforcement to flesh out the rules ahead of the vote, even though that move effectively prevented public discussion and debate of allowing firearms on campus. Grime explained that the board felt the intervening weeks following the vote allowed for adequate time to notify parents.
“We take great pride in ensuring that our facility is safe and secure but the [Board of Education] and administration believed that this proactive measure would substantially enhance and strengthen our security efforts,” Grime wrote.
The move is not far off from the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) recommendation following the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, where 26 people were killed, 20 being children, by a shooter with a semi-automatic rifle. The nation’s largest gun lobby pitched Congress on a plan to put armed guards in all the nation’s public schools, but most top officials appear to have dismissed the proposal outright.
Though the NRA indicated that its recommendation was new policy, armed personnel were present at the mass shootings at Virginia Tech and Columbine High School and Fort Hood. While they arguably helped end the shootings earlier than police might otherwise have been able to manage, shooters still executed some of the nation’s worst massacres at those locations.