Madison moves fight to continue arming school staffers to Ohio Supreme Court

Some parents and residents in the Madison school system in Butler County have sued the district over the school boards policy plan to arm school staffers. The district was the site of a 2016 student shooting that wounded three students. STAFF FILE/2016
Some parents and residents in the Madison school system in Butler County have sued the district over the school boards policy plan to arm school staffers. The district was the site of a 2016 student shooting that wounded three students. STAFF FILE/2016

Madison Schools have appealed the 12th District Court of Appeals ruling they must provide police-level training to armed staffers to the Ohio Supreme Court.

The Madison schools parents who sued the district over its concealed weapons policy appealed Butler County Common Pleas Judge Charles Pater’s decision against them to the 12th District Court of Appeals a year ago.

Pater ruled teachers and other staff are not peace officers and therefore do not require police levels of training. The appeals court disagreed and ordered the school district to stop arming teachers without that much more involved required training.

RELATED: Madison Schools may appeal to high court over gun training decision

The appeals court ruled the district cannot circumvent state law in March.

“The express language of the statute does not suggest an intention to allow teachers or staff to carry a firearm while on duty with less training than that indicated in the statute,” Judge Robert Ringland wrote for the court. “Rather, the plain language of the statute reveals that a board of education may only employ such persons if they have received significant training or have more than 20 years of experience.”

The district filed the appeal to the high court Thursday and a number of other school districts and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office have filed briefs in support. They said “it would be difficult to argue that this case does not present issues of public or great general interest.”

“This is more than a picayune squabble about how much training should be required when a school district exercises its right under the authorizing statute,” attorneys for the district wrote. “As a practical matter, this decision eliminates the ability of a local board of education to decide that the best way to protect students and staff from a hostile actor is by allowing some staff to carry concealed weapons on school grounds.”

The court challenge came in response to a gun policy that was passed after a 2016 shooting at Madison Jr./Sr. High School, where a student injured four of his classmates.