Arming America's Teachers: Inside one district's decision - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Arming America's Teachers: Inside one district's unanimous decision

MONTPELIER, Ohio - In the blue collar Village of Montpelier, police say it's not uncommon to see vehicles with gun racks and know people are armed, but until recently, the community's K-12 school was a gun free zone.

"I've said from the get go, I don't know that this is the right thing to do, but I had to do something," says Montpelier Exempted Village Schools Superintendent Jamie Grime.

The school board voted unanimously at the beginning of the year to allow four unidentified staff members to carry a concealed gun. The measure is legal according to Ohio law.

No one, other than the board, knows who the four individuals are, but Grime says they are not teachers and guns will not be in the classrooms.

The decision came a month after the school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.

"I suppose, as a school board, as the superintendent, we can take the stance that this is never going to happen to us, and there is a good likely hood that may be the case, but I'm not willing to play the odds," Grime says.

The decision was met with some opposition by parents, but Grime says most are supportive.

"There is no easy solution, but I think it's a step in the right direction," says Montpelier parent Ben Harris.

"My husband says he doesn't agree with that issue because he feels like, if there are guns in the school, the wrong people could get hurt," says Beverly Torkelson. She and her husband have grandchildren at the school.

"I'm not happy about this either," expresses Grime. "But we can't ignore what is happening around us, and bad things are happening in schools around us."

The village's police department are working with the school on the issue.

Police Chief Jeffery Lehman says the majority of "active killers" stop what they're doing, or take their own life, once confronted by someone else with a gun.

Police have suggested school staff members planning to carry a gun undergo an extensive training program.

According to Grime, private donors have offered to pay for the staffs training, which would consist of the basic curriculum of an Ohio police officer.

Grime says the school will not rush the process working to assure staff members make no mistakes.

"If a child reaches in a bag, does that mean you're going to draw your gun?" asks Lehman. "Well as police officers, just because we see someone reach into their purse doesn't mean they're going to draw their gun, but we're going to observe them, we're going to watch and decide their next movement."

The school board has contacted the school's insurance carrier concerning liability. Grime says they've received a list of items they must first present, including annual gun training for staff members, as well as strict safety plans and facility maps.

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