School Safety: Rural Ohio Town Arms Staff

In response to recent school shootings, an Ohio school district located in a small town with a population of merely 560 has decided to authorize its teachers to carry firearms.

River Valley Local School District in Caledonia, which serves approximately 2,000 students from the surrounding areas, cites a law enacted by Governor Mike DeWine in June 2022.

This was cited as the basis for allowing staff members in its high school, middle school, Heritage, and Liberty elementary schools to be armed.

Superintendent Wickham’s plan to protect schools

Superintendent Adam Wickham asserted to The Marion Star, “Our educational institutions shall cease to be vulnerable and defenseless.”

He continued, “The majority of active-shooter incidents transpire in ‘gun-free zones’ or areas with limited safety precautions. Our goal is to guarantee that our schools will not be susceptible targets.”

Wickham elaborated, “In rural communities like ours, response times to active shooter situations can span several minutes.┬áHaving armed staff within our facilities could potentially save lives by offering a swifter response to imminent threats.”

He cited recent school shootings in Nashville, Uvalde (Texas), and Parkland (Florida) as evidence that faster response times increase the likelihood of preserving lives.

Rigorous training policy for armed staff

Wickham also pointed out that the River Valley Local Schools policy mandates more rigorous training than the state’s requirements.

The legislation Governor DeWine enacted, House Bill 99, specifies that it “upholds the earlier practice of enabling school boards to select and arm particular staff members, while requiring reasonable training criteria for those individuals.”

Wickham acknowledged the concerns raised by some, saying, “There have been inquiries regarding the training and selection process.”

He added, “A considerable majority of parents have expressed gratitude for the proactive stance taken to safeguard their children.

That is a primary motivation for adopting the use of armed staff.

“Although we recognize that not everyone will endorse this initiative, every safety measure implemented at River Valley, including the employment of armed personnel, aims to ensure that our staff and students can return safely to their families and loved ones, day after day.”