COLUMBIANA, Ohio (WYTV) – At a special board of education meeting in Columbiana Tuesday night, community members discussed the issue of whether to allow staff to carry guns in school. It brought up questions and concerns from parents, students and teachers.
It’s apparent that times are changing and the topic of school security isn’t going to be taken lightly anymore.
“I got into education back in the ’80s and the last thing you were thinking about was your safety,” Columbiana Exempted Village Schools Superintendent Donald Mook said.
Mook said he realizes that’s no longer the case.
“We do a lot of things now to try and curb potential issues but at the end of the day, we’re all interested in what’s going to happen in an active shooter situation.”
About 100 people came out to the public meeting on Tuesday to voice their opinions on whether to allow teachers to carry guns in their schools or not.Video: Full Columbiana community meeting
“I am not convinced that arming teachers and staff will contribute to their safety in the event of a school shooter,” one woman said.
Mayor Bryan Blakeman also spoke, not as a politician but as a parent.
“I, personally, would lean toward allowing anything you can to further protect our kids,” Blakeman said. “Sure, there is risk, but forcing them to be defenseless does nothing to provide more security.”
“We already ask a huge amount of our educators to invest in our children socially, emotionally, intellectually and now we’re at considering adding the psychological burden of security,” another man said.
Brian Grant is a substitute teacher and track coach at Columbiana. He is also a parent who wants the district to keep the kids safe. However, when it comes to carrying a concealed weapon, he doesn’t want that responsibility.
“My job as an educator is to teach,” Grant said.
Some community members directly asked the board what programs are in place to train teachers on how to identify at-risk students.
Tuesday’s special meeting was just a way to get the community involved in these talks with the board of education. Nothing has been decided in regards to allowing teachers to carry concealed weapons in the district.