On June 13, 2022, Governor Dewine sent a letter to school Superintendents across the state of Ohio to shed light on the passing of 2022 Am.Sub.H.B. No. 99 (“H.B. 99”) as well as its underlying goals and objectives to enhance school safety. Dewine writes in his letter that the Bill officially establishes the Safety and Crisis Division, a branch within the Ohio School Safety Center, that will be responsible for overseeing the training and curriculum required for schools to arm their school personnel.
In his letter, Dewine reassures school Superintendents that the arming of school personnel is “optional.” Although Dewine promulgates that the presence of school resource officers in schools is his preferred response to addressing school safety matters, the Governor acknowledges that “each school situation is different,” and allowing school personnel to carry a firearm is an option that schools are now more readily able to do.
Dewine also explains in his letter the legal significance of passing H.B. 99. As explained at pages 7-8 of the Final Bill Analysis to the H.B. 99, one reason the 134th General Assembly sought to implement H.B. 99 was to eliminate the basic peace officer training requirement of 700 hours decided by the Ohio Supreme Court in Gabbard v. Madison Local School Dist. Bd. of Edn. (June 23, 2021), 165 Ohio St.3d 390, 2021-Ohio-2067. Another reason was to mandate additional requirements before any school employee/official (who is not a state/federal agent, law enforcement officer, or security officer) can carry weapons on school grounds under written approval of the Board. H.B. 99 now requires that school personnel and staff complete twenty-four (24) hours of initial training, and an additional eight (8) hours of continuing training upon per annum upon completion of the initial training requirement.
Dewine further explains that “experienced training officers” will develop and oversee the training and curriculum requirements, which include 24 hours of initial training, annual requalification, and additional training up to forty-eight (48) hours if a school district requires its school personnel to complete such additional training.
The letter discusses the other aspects of H.B. 99 including the Student Wellness budget, K-12 School Safety Grant Program, and Behavioral Threat Assessment Training which jointly seek to address students’ mental health and wellness.
The Bill went into effect on September 12, 2022.
To read Governor Dewine’s letter, click here.
To read the H.B. Final Bill Analysis, click here.
To read H.B. 99, click here.
Authors: Matthew John Markling and the McGown & Markling Team.
Note: This blog entry does not constitute – nor does it contain – legal advice. Legal jurisprudence is like the always-changing Midwestern weather. As a result, this single blog entry cannot substitute for consultation with a McGown & Markling attorney. If legal advice is needed with respect to a specific factual situation, please feel free to contact a McGown & Markling attorney.