In a statement read at the meeting by board member Laurin Sprague, he said “currently the board does not feel that we will have all the information we need to make this decision until we know the results of the countywide school safety levy in November.”
“Therefore, the board will not pursue the implementation of any armed personnel in our schools until the levy results are available. Our reason for this delay is because the board wants to know if we will be able to afford (armed) school resource officers in all of our buildings and that is dependent of the passing of the levy. The board feels the reality of school resource officers in all of our buildings greatly lessens or could possibly negate the need for armed personnel, so we are willing to wait to make our decision,” according to the board’s statement.
“Furthermore, the board has decided regardless of the levy outcome that Hamilton teachers will not be armed. The board does, however, want to keep open the possibility of arming other school personnel (some classified or administrative) in the voluntary, well trained status that has been discussed to this point. To that end, we have directed Superintendent (Larry) Knapp to gather more information of current non-teaching personnel who are currently in the district and have a military or law enforcement background.”
At this point, board members said “we will not be accepting any applications or starting any training with anyone who might be interested in volunteering.”
The board, which last month conducted a public town hall meeting along with Hamilton Police Chief Craig Bucheit, also said “we have heard from many parents, students, teachers and community members. Through this time we have heard viewpoints that support the arming of personnel and also those who do not. The topic is an important one that deserves the attention that it has generated.”
The board will continue to gather public input on school security issues, members said.
Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones talks about why he posted a billboard Monday critical of Hamilton??s school board.
But Jones accused Superintendent Knapp and board members of going back on their promise to pursue arming some school staffers and installing metal detectors in the city schools.
“They have changed up what they told me. I don’t trust the school board or the superintendent, and I will not support their (school security) levy,” said Jones.
The sheriff also said in response to district officials’ latest actions he now plans to post two new billboards with messages in opposition of Hamilton’s pursuit of a 1.5-mill, 10-year school security tax hike that is also being sought by four other Butler County school systems.
“I’m not supporting their money grab,” said Jones.