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Ohio Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action Statement on Senate Vote on Dangerous Arming-Teachers Bill

November 19, 2020

The Ohio chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety, today released the following statement after the Ohio Senate passed SB 317, a bill that would allow teachers to carry a gun at school without extensive training. Ohio law requires teachers to complete peace officer training in order to carry a gun in schools; SB 317 would exempt teachers from this significant requirement.

“This vote is an insult to all the educators who have worked to make classrooms a safe space for students,” said Sara DeMuch, volunteer with Ohio Moms Demand Action. “There is no evidence that arming teachers makes anyone safer, and lowering training requirements certainly doesn’t help. If lawmakers want to keep our school safe, we urge them to reject this dangerous bill.”

“Arming teachers and training them with anti-Muslim sentiment puts me and my fellow students in danger,” said Zack Maaieh, volunteer with the Toledo chapter of Students Demand Action and member of the Students Demand Action National Advisory Board. “This bill is just an excuse for the gun lobby to push more guns into places they don’t belong.”

The only proponent of the bill besides the National Rifle Association is the Buckeye Firearms Association — whose foundation runs an armed teachers training called FASTER. FASTER is 26 hours of training for which they charge schools thousands of dollars. An Ohio appeals court ruled this training insufficient under Ohio law in March, but SB 317 would allow school districts to return to using the FASTER training. The FASTER training not only provides insufficient safety training, but also includes dangerous and Islamophobic rhetoric that explicitly trains teachers to target Muslim students.

In August, more than 200 volunteers with Ohio Moms Demand Action testified against SB 317. In March, an Ohio appeals court ordered the Madison Local School District to halt a program allowing teachers to carry hidden, loaded weapons in classrooms with minimal training, finding that arming public school teachers with only FASTER training is illegal under state law.

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