Madison Schools parents want judge to pause gun program

The parents who sued Madison Local Schools over arming teachers and staff want the judge to order a preliminary injunction so the district’s gun program will pause while the lawsuit is pending.

A group of parents sued the Board of Education and superintendent in September, alleging the board’s April resolution authorizing armed staff in schools violates an Ohio law requiring that armed school employees be trained and certified as peace officers.

The parents are seeking an injunction blocking the district from arming teachers and other staff without the training required by law — 728 hours versus the 26 hours the school has in its policy — and a court order requiring disclosure of policies and procedures for arming staff.

RELATED: Group of Madison Schools parents sue over armed teachers

The parents’ attorney Rachael Bloomekatz said she asked for the immediate injunction because they fear someone could get hurt if staff are carrying firearms without proper training.

“Because the district’s program does not abide by the state’s minimum training requirements, insufficiently trained armed school staff could be soon roaming the hallways of Madison schools, if they’re not already,” Bloomekatz told the Journal-News. “That’s not just illegal, it puts Madison’s kids at undue risk for tragic accidents. So we’re asking the court to pause the district’s program while it assesses this critical question.”

Superintendent Lisa Tuttle-Huff would not say whether anyone has started the program and is carrying a gun in school. She did email this statement.

“The board of education and the superintendent strongly believe that failure to implement this policy serves only to endanger the students and staff of Madison Local Schools in the event of another active shooter crisis,” she wrote. “However, should the court rule in favor of the motion the school district will, of course, comply with the court’s decision.”

In 2016, Madison Senior/Junior High School saw an eighth-grader fire a gun wounding three classmates.

The lawsuit acknowledges the school board has discretion to allow armed staff, but must follow the law.

“Ohio law requires a school employee that goes ‘armed while on duty’ to have first completed a ‘basic peace officer training’ program or have 20 years experience serving as a peace officer. That training is over 700 hours,” the lawsuit notes.

The school district recently asked the judge dismiss the portion of the lawsuit that involves public records, saying the information is protected by law. That motion is pending.

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