As previously reported, the 12th District Court of Appeals overturned a lower court ruling allowing a Butler County school district to arm certain staff, citing a section of the Ohio Revised Code that prohibits schools from employing police officers, security guards or other armed personnel unless they have completed basic peace officer training or 20 years of active duty.
The legislative response to that ruling is introduction of S.B. 317 currently under consideration by the Senate Government Oversight & Reform Committee.
According to committee Chair Sen. Bill Coley (R-Liberty Twp.), the court’s “erroneous ruling” calls for a quick legislative response.
“It is not up to politicians in Columbus to decide how to best protect each school district’s children,” he said. “This bill will merely give each board of education the option to allow teachers the opportunity to protect their students and themselves,” Sen. Coley said.
He noted that the 131st General Assembly passed legislation aimed at empowering local control on issues related to weapons in school safety zones.
The legislation, supported by the Buckeye Firearms Association, would clarify that school staff need not meet the same training requirements as are in place for police officers working in schools.
The Butler County school district has appealed the ruling to the Ohio Supreme Court.
“Because the appellate court decision is so out of step with prevailing legal thought, the better solution for Madison and for any school district would be for the General Assembly to make the law crystal clear,” said Buckeye Firearms Association Legislative Affairs Director Rob Sexton.
Sen. Coley intends to “move this bill very quickly.”School reopening bill likely to change
Legislation (S.B. 320) under consideration by the Senate Education Committee would assign responsibility for decisions regarding school openings to local education officials.
In testimony before the committee, the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Matt Huffman (R-Lima) said, “I think that if the schools don’t by and large open up this fall we’re going to have some real chaos on our hands.”
The bill would prohibit public officials from mandating the adoption of health safety policies by districts and schools.
He referenced the divergent opinions regarding the wearing of masks, with some 100 percent committed to doing so and others vehemently opposed.
“You don’t manage that by issuing orders from the state,” Sen. Huffman said. “That has to be managed by local school educators.”
In response to a question from Senate Education Committee Chair Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering), Sen. Huffman said that an amendment to involve local health departments in reopening decisions would be “good” as long as the ultimate authority to decide is granted to school officials.
“I would think that when it comes to recommending whether or not a school is at increased risk or reduced risk of the pandemic might be something that we want to engage our local health department in to a greater degree than (S.B.) 320 suggests,” Sen. Lehner said.
State Board of Education members recently considered passing a resolution in support of local control over decisions regarding school re-openings, but opted to continue the discussion and review of a draft reflecting potential revisions.
House passes legislation to reduce end-of-course exams
Bipartisan legislation (H.B. 239) to reduce the number of end-of-course exams required for graduation from five to four – by combining American history and government – starting with the class of 2023 was approved by the Ohio House of Representatives late May.
According to Rep. Gayle Manning – who cosponsored the bill with Rep. Erica Crawley – the legislation would save money and ease the testing burden for students.
“We’ve heard from parents, educators and our local school board members that we need to reduce the state testing,” Rep. Manning said. “That’s exactly what this bill would do.”
The bill now moves to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.
New School or Replication of a High Performing Charter School
Buckeye Community Hope Foundation is currently accepting applications for New or Replicating high quality community schools to open in the 2021-2022 school year.
We believe every student in Ohio should have the opportunity to attend a high quality public school. All application requirements are posted below. If you have any questions, please contact Jennifer Schorr at email@example.com or call (614) 942-2002.
We will host an information webinar on Friday, May 15, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. via Zoom. This webinar will provide additional tips for completing your application and common mistakes we see in applications that are ultimately denied. Please join us at the link below.
Full Application due October 1, 2020
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Below are the links to the Sponsorship Transfer Application. If at any time you have questions, please contact Jennifer Schorr firstname.lastname@example.org
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