School Safety Shootout: Ohio’s $78k Plan to Train Armed Staff

Ohio recently gave the green light for a noteworthy purchase totaling $78,000: two mobile homes intended for training public school staff on firearms handling in the event of an active shooter scenario.

The Ohio Controlling Board, responsible for tweaking the state budget, signed off on the request made by public safety officials back in March, allocating $78,028 for the acquisition of two “mobile modular shoot houses.” These units are tailored to facilitate the training of designated school personnel authorized to carry firearms.

This decision aligns with House Bill 99, enacted by Gov. Mike DeWine in June 2022, which empowers school boards to designate armed staff members and sets forth training mandates for them. While the law doesn’t mandate the arming of school personnel, it entrusts the discretion to local school boards.

Under the provisions of the law, armed staff members must undergo a minimum of 24 hours of initial training and eight hours of annual requalification training. This training regimen includes four hours of scenario-based exercises, aimed at replicating real-world situations as closely as possible, as highlighted by Ohio Department of Public Safety spokesperson Jay Carey.

The current training infrastructure comprises movable canvas walls, offering limited simulation of active shooter responses within school premises. However, the acquisition of modular mobile shoot houses presents several advantages, such as realistic doors and windows, enabling armed school staff to practice maneuvers akin to those required in an actual school setting.

The Ohio School Safety Center (OSSC) is currently in the process of procuring these custom shoot houses from Kontek Industries, a security service company based in North Carolina.

The goal is to integrate them into training programs by this summer. Kontek Industries boasts over 40 systems deployed nationwide for training law enforcement and civilians in dealing with active shooter threats, with the mobile modular shoot houses introduced in 2019.

These shoot houses offer flexibility, capable of being deployed in large outdoor spaces on school premises for training exercises, utilizing non-lethal ammunition. In case of adverse weather conditions, the units can be relocated to spacious indoor areas like gymnasiums. Additionally, the shoot houses will serve as venues for live-fire training sessions conducted at firing ranges.

Presently, 67 schools and districts across 36 counties have submitted lists of staff members authorized to carry firearms. However, the notion of arming teachers and other school personnel is not universally embraced.

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