PDT Staff Writer
State Representative Dr. Terry Johnson hosted a school safety forum last week with area officials throughout the 90th district. According to Johnson’s legislative aid Steven Alexander, the event was held to start a dialog about the school safety issue.
“Representative Johnson wanted to bring together his communities’ professionals, law enforcement and school superintendents to discuss ways we can look at school safety in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut shootings,” Alexander said. “This is going to be a hotly contested topic. We anticipate this coming up during this general assembly. We wanted to make sure we knew how our constituents felt about it.”
He said some of the feedback received from the event included arming teachers.
“The school superintendents felt they needed local control. Law enforcement expressed a desire to make sure people who are carrying have the proper training,” Alexander said.
He said those were some of the broad topics covered during the forum.
“We understand there is no perfect solution, no matter what you do there is always a risk of something going wrong. We also talked about ways to make school buildings safer,” Alexander said. “That became troublesome because no matter what they thought of, they could always think of another way someone could shoot some innocent people if they really wanted to.”
He said, the consensus of the group seemed to be that eventually there is going to need a good guy with a gun near by.
Alexander said the dialog was productive and a good start for future conversations.
“As this issue heats up, we’ll be going back to this group and saying here is the policy being discussed, what do you think?” Alexander said. “It was a first step, rather than presenting a solution.”
Alexander said Johnson has no plans to draft legislation on the topic. He said, it’s anticipated the subject will be debated and potentially voted upon in the Ohio House of Representatives.
He said there were about 60 people in attendance at the forum held at Shawnee State University.
“We want people to know, we are always looking at ways to make our kids safer,” Alexander said.
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228, or firstname.lastname@example.org