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Hamilton schools considering more armed guards, classroom barricades and bullet-proof windows

Hamilton s school board heard Tuesday evening that the schools may be getting more armed guards and upgraded security devices installed. MICHAEL D. CLARK / STAFF
Hamilton s school board heard Tuesday evening that the schools may be getting more armed guards and upgraded security devices installed. MICHAEL D. CLARK / STAFF

Besides security measures already in place in Hamilton Schools, the district may soon see the addition of more armed guards, classroom barricades and bullet-proof windows.

Those are just some of the options officials in the 10,000-student school system are exploring, Hamilton Interim Superintendent Larry Knapp reported to school board members Tuesday evening.

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And teachers in the city schools will soon be surveyed as to how they would feel about having more armed personnel in their buildings, said the leader of the teachers’ union.

Knapp said school officials are “investigating the use of protective window security film that makes windows semi-bullet proof for possible use at entry ways.”

Officials are also exploring the purchase of the latest in classroom barricades – including possibly using devices similar to those already being used in Talawanda Schools and Warren County’s Kings Schools, said Knapp.

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“With the recent relaxing of (state) fire codes we are now able to use these devices if they are approved by our local fire officials,” said Knapp.

He said the city schools already have more armed School Resource Officers (SROs) patrolling buildings than ever in the history of the district.

But he added, “let me be very clear that we are not talking about arming teachers here,” as has been proposed by Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones, who has provided free Conceal Carry Weapon (CCW) training to dozens of area teachers since the Parkland, Fla. shooting in February.

Knapp said the district is working closely with Hamilton police officials, which supply the schools SROs, and any additional armed personnel would be trained and qualified by the city police.

The board was not asked by Knapp to take any actions at the meeting.

He said his administrative team will report back to members with more information, including costs and timelines to have additional safety features in place by the start of the next school year in August.

In other board action, Debra Gann, president of the Hamilton Classroom Teachers Association, also repeated her previous questions about when the status of Hamilton Superintendent Tony Orr – who was ordered on paid leave by the board Feb. 5 – will be resolved.

ExploreMORE: Decision on Hamilton school leader’s status weeks away says attorney

The board has hired an independent investigator to look into allegations Orr violated school board policies. The board, however, reiterated its no-comment stance – as advised by their legal counsel.

The district’s attorney said this week the investigation will likely take weeks to complete.

But Isgro did say, “we want this over just as much as everybody else does.”

“We can’t tell you anything, mostly because a lot of stuff we don’t know. But we cannot tell you when this will be over … to everybody involved, we want to be fair,” said Isgro.