Madison School officials on arming staffers: Why would anyone oppose?

Madison school board members posted a statement on social media today defending their plan to arm some school staffers and questioning why anyone would object to “protecting students.”

The governing board of the Butler County school system was recently the target of a still-pending lawsuit seeking to stop the district’s plan to train some staffers, who volunteer, in firearm use to enhance building security at Madison’s K-12 single campus.

In 2016, the school was the site of a shooting that saw a student wound three classmates.

In the Tuesday Facebook posting, district officials stated:

“The Madison Local School District is being sued for its decision to allow teachers and staff to access firearms to protect students in the event of another school shooting on our campus. 

Specifically, the Madison Local School District Board of Education and Superintendent Lisa Tuttle-Huff, are named as the defendants. We have chosen not to name the community members who have brought about this suit, so as not to further divide our community. You can read the text of the lawsuit at Butler County Clerk of Courts Website. 

In the interest of preserving the lives and safety of all students attending our schools, the Board has constructed a safety plan clearly focused on stopping a school shooter before yet another tragedy can occur in our district. The reason why anyone would want to work against our goal of protecting students is unclear. What is certain is that the school district is now being forced to respond to this legal action.

The Board of Education is currently evaluating the options for moving forward and is considering the substantial financial burden the district would bear in a protracted legal battle. Regardless of the forces taking action against the district’s policy decisions, the Board and the Superintendent are determined to keep Madison Schools a safe place to learn.”

The board’s next public meeting is at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Madison Schools Central Office at 1324 Middletown Eaton Road.

Madison Superintendent Lisa Tuttle-Huff said Tuesday there are no plans for the board to address the armed staffer program during the meeting.

Madison Board of Education President David French did not respond to a request to comment.

But Rachel Bloomekatz, a Columbus-based attorney — whose firm is supported by the the anti-gun, New York City-based “Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund” — criticized the board’s statement.

Bloomekatz, who is representing a Madison school parent in the litigation, told the Journal-News: “It is disappointing that the Board is questioning their motivations instead of working collaboratively to ensure the safety of the students.”

“Our clients’ utmost concern is the safety of their children and all students in Madison schools. They are asking the Board to ensure that staff are properly trained before bringing a firearm into a classroom, as required by Ohio law,” said Bloomekatz.

Other local residents who have previously spoken out against the school’s armed staffer plan did not respond to emailed requests seeking their reactions to the board’s statement.

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