The Madison schools parents who sued the district over its concealed weapons policy will take Butler County Common Pleas Judge Charles Pater’s decision against them to the the 12th District Court of Appeals.
The court challenge came in response to a gun policy that was passed about a year ago after a 2016 shooting at Madison Jr./Sr. High School, where a student injured four of his classmates.
A group of parents sued the district last September seeking an injunction blocking the district from arming teachers and other staff without the training required of law enforcement officials — 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.
Pater ruled last month school personnel do not need to be trained as peace officers.
“The plain text of the relevant law is clear,” said Rachel Bloomekatz, one of the attorneys for the group of parents. “If school boards are going to authorize teachers or other staff to carry deadly weapons at school, they must have the extensive training that is specified in Ohio law. Whatever your views on the policy, the board must follow state law and that is why we’re appealing.”
Depositions released after the case concluded contained much information about the training staffers received and other thoughts on the subject.
Erin Gabbard, the lead plaintiff, read documents — including depositions taken with the three armed staff and administrators.
“I think we all felt helpless three years ago and we don’t want to feel that way again, no one on either side of this,” Gabbard told the Journal-News. “I think we can’t ignore the real safety risks that come with bringing guns into the classroom with such inadequate training.
“I think our kids and our staff and the parents in this district deserve a more comprehensive, thorough and thoughtful policy.”
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