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Sheriff’s office and schools working on plans to arm staff in buildings

| September 23, 2016

COSHOCTON – In cooperation with the Coshocton County Sheriff’s Office, the boards of education at Coshocton City Schools, the Coshocton County Career Center, and River View Local Schools will be taking the necessary steps to pass resolutions and implement policies for the arming of specially trained staff members in their buildings. All three districts have been working with the Coshocton County Sheriff’s Office since last winter researching and exploring the idea as well as training selected employees to be potential candidates.

“With many school districts in Ohio already moving forward with arming select staff, we felt it very important for our community that your sheriff’s office be directly involved from the beginning of this endeavor,” said Timothy Rogers, Coshocton County Sheriff. “We needed to ensure that the highest standard of training and expertise be given to the participants in order to best protect our children in the climate we now find ourselves in.  I applaud our local school districts for taking a proactive approach in this very serious decision.”

Each district selected a group of staff members to participate in exploring the options and ideas of being armed in school. Those candidates that chose voluntarily to participate were then required to become legally licensed to carry a fire arm through the traditional conceal and carry classes. The class was given with the specific purpose and idea that the individuals participating would be potentially carrying in a school setting. The group of candidates then participated in the FASTER (Faculty/Administrator Safety Training & Emergency Response) training designed specifically for the school setting. At the end of these trainings, all participants were required to pass a qualification test. There will be mandatory, ongoing training throughout each year that will be done through the Coshocton County Sheriff’s Office in order for the individuals to be permitted to carry a firearm in the school.

The training these school staff members have received and will be required to maintain is more specialized to this particular environment and circumstance than the average school resource officer would receive. The ongoing training will be provided by the Sheriff’s Office Special Response Team and will not only revolve around firearms but the tactics that are needed to approach an active shooter safely and efficiently.

The identities of the armed staff members will remain confidential as they will be part of the schools’ safety plans which are filed with local and state law enforcement and the Ohio Attorney General. These plans will also include protocol and guidelines required for the armed staff to follow to maintain the responsibility. This is strictly a volunteer responsibility and no additional stipends or salaries will be provided to the participants.

This program is not intended to replace law enforcement, but to allow teachers, administrators, and other personnel on-site to stop the violence rapidly and render medical aid immediately.

According to Dalton Summers, superintendent of RVLSD, River View didn’t make this decision lightly.

“It reflects the grave and serious change in today’s standards of safety in our schools,” he said. “We will always be committed to the safety of our children and we are prepared to take whatever needed measures we must to protect them. We are thankful that we have dedicated and responsible individuals that are willing to take on such an awesome responsibility for the safety of our children.”

Dr. David Hire, superintendent for Coshocton City Schools, agreed.

“Our number one priority is student safety, and we must be prepared to respond immediately to active shooter situations,” he said. “The extensive and on-going training will ensure that we are ready for any such emergency, and we will not have to wait for additional first responders in the event of a critical situation. It is unfortunate that we have to consider these types of options to protect our students and staff, but the reality is that we must be prepared. I appreciate the cooperation of the sheriff’s office to make sure that we are prepared for this responsibility.”

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Category: Education

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Article contributed to The Beacon.

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