Drawing of a schoolhouse with two large guns on each side aimed at it

Two years after a 14-year-old boy brought a gun and shot two of his classmates in their district, the Ohio Madison Local School District board has voted “unanimously” that their school employees are now able to “defend and protect students” with the use of a weapon. Any staff member who wants to carry a firearm to work can do so if they have a concealed carry permit, take active shooter training, get re-certified each year and get written permission from the school superintendent. Parents are divided regarding this decision. 

This is the same school district that punished students for participating in the nationwide school walkouts protesting gun violence in schools, including, punishing a student, Cooper Caffrey, who is a victim of a school shooting. The board hasn’t said when they will start training and arming their teachers, but, they do plan to carry out this mission of defending and protecting their students from gun violence. Apparently, they feel that arming their teachers to be ready to “shoot to kill” is more effective than having students peacefully protest gun violence in their schools.

Ohio Lawmaker, Republican Rep. Niraj Antani, in an interview with the Dayton Daily News said that anyone 18 or older who complies with state gun laws “should be able to carry and protect themselves” which includes high school students, who should also be allowed to carry guns inside public high schools. He later told The Associated Press that “I’m not introducing a bill” and that he “wasn’t advocating anyone should do anything.” But, now, we have on the table the option of also having students bear arms inside “public high schools” increasing the weapon count that could be in a school at any given time.  

May is election time for many counties in Ohio. The “conservatives” have flooded the media with campaign ads that either show their endorsement of the right to bear arms or make claims that their opponents are for gun control and are a threat to the right to bear arms.  They are wearing army fatigues, shooting rifles at old televisions in open fields and proudly proclaiming that they support and endorse our current President and didn’t support or like our past President. 

Are our children perhaps getting caught up in the middle of the battle to keep state rights to have guns in case they are needed for protection or to hunt for animals.  Are our children caught in the middle of a need to be able to instill fear in another person when we find ourselves in uncomfortable places or situations with the use of a gun? 

Ohio banned corporal punishment in schools. Corporal punishment is defined as utilizing physical force, no matter how light, to cause deliberate bodily pain or discomfort in response to some undesired behavior. This punishment often took the form of striking the student’s buttocks with a wooden paddle. Ohio banned prayer in schools. There was a time when the students said “thou shall not kill” as part of their learning experience. Regardless of their religion, “thou shall not kill” was a good way to think.  

Today, Ohio is planning to allow teachers and employees of public schools to carry weapons as they teach and mentor to our children. We went from spanking students to now threatening them with guns, because, the truth of the matter is that children, especially, black and poor students, are the ones that will face the possibility that they will be shot and killed if they appear to be a threat to other students and staff. And just what will the definition be regarding “defend and protect” students? Will it be the same standards that our police officers sometimes use when “defending and protecting” citizens and themselves when they feel their “life is in danger?”

It appears that in Ohio its more important to have, carry and use guns in schools then it is to figure out how to prevent guns from entering school buildings. The use of metal detectors in schools have been used in some states with some success, however, they have been deemed too expensive, not realistic, would entail everyone to be screened no matter their purpose at the school, and could violate local ordinances and fire codes. It seems that the school districts feel it would be an inconvenience to the parents or visitors who come to the school during school hours, or the guests that come to afterschool activities, to have to pass through metal detectors. It’s easier to just arm the teachers so that if a person with a gun comes to shoot up the school they can stop them by killing them first. 

God help the children caught in the middle of the gunfight and the right to bear arms.

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