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Over 200 Ohioans Testify Against Arming Teachers Bill Before Ohio Senate Panel Votes to Advance to the Senate Floor

September 1, 2020

The Ohio chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, the grassroots networks of Everytown for Gun Safety, today released the following statement after the Ohio Senate Committee on Government Oversight and Reform voted to advance SB317 to the Senate floor — a bill to dramatically reduce training requirements for teachers who carry firearms in schools. More than 200 people submitted testimony in opposition to the bill, including several Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers who testified in person. 

Research shows that arming teachers increases the risk of gun violence in schools. 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. 

“It’s clear who this bill is for, and it’s not Ohio students, teachers or families – it’s the gun lobby,” said Kristine Woodworth, a volunteer with the Ohio chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We already know that arming teachers – especially with little to no training – is more likely to increase the risk of gun violence in schools. If lawmakers really want to protect our schools, they should pass the common-sense gun safety measures that Ohioans are demanding.”

“The only thing worse than a teacher with a gun on their hip at school is a teacher who has been explicitly trained to target Muslim students like myself,” said Zack Maaieh, a senior at Ottawa Hills High School and volunteer with Students Demand Action in Toledo. “We know there are better, safer ways to protect students, but lawmakers refuse to listen. When will they put our safety above the interests of the gun lobby?”

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