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School board exploring safety issues in arming teachers

BOONE COUNTY, Ohio (Rich Jaffe) -- The question of arming teachers arises as a local school board meets to discuss school safety.

Thursday night's Boone County School Board meeting comes a few weeks after a very heated session in which the public learned about a weapons training program called "POST."  No one argues that our schools need to be as safe as possible.  The question is, how do you do that?

Teachers all over the country are wrestling with safety issues.  In Adams County a few months ago, some Ohio educators were getting trained on how to use guns in their schools.  The hot-button subject came up in Boone County February 19th when Joe Kalil, a certified federal firearms instructor and pilot, presented his program called "POST" at a public meeting.

Boone County School Board member, Ed Massey, tells us it's a plan that's meeting with resistance from the Boone County School Board for multiple reasons.

"One, our teachers went into the profession of education to be teachers, not armed guards.  Two we have a major concern about the liability to our district either on the board or schools and 3, this program is really not tested.  The ability to be trained with a weapon and shoot into a target on a non-stress situation is totally different than a live fire situation," he said.
"POST" stands for Protecting Our Students and Teachers.  The plan would involve school staffers who volunteer for the training and have their own concealed carry permits.  The program includes 55 hours of training along with lie detector tests, background checks, annual re-certification and much more.

It has the support of at least four northern Kentucky sheriff's and Boone County Sheriff Mike Helmig has offered his facilities and training opportunities. 

Tom Scheben from the Boone County Sheriff's Department says, "The school board, it's really up to them.  It's their baileywick.  They have to decide in what direction they want to go and who they want to partner with, the sheriff or Joe Kalil, anybody will sit down with them and say what are you interested in? What can we do? Absolutely there's a middle ground. We haven't found it but we just started."

School board member Ed Massey says after initially being presented with the idea, he objected to something Kalil posted on his POST website.

"The next thing I saw was a flier from the POST program that said, 'Support the board members that support the program or consider running for school board,'" Massey said.

The POST program is certainly not the only thing that's going to be discussed at the meeting, but it's definitely one of the more controversial possibilities.

That meeting again begins at 630.  It's open to the public and is being held at the Ralph Rush Development Center at 99 Center Street in Florence.

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