The Stow-Munroe Falls Board of Education unanimously approved a superintendent's recommendation last night permitting more than six dozen police officers to carry concealed weapons while off-duty on school property.
Superintendent Dr. Russ Jones referred to the measure as a cost-effective way for the schools to offer more security at school events, and Board members agreed.
While schools are weapon-free zones under only a few exceptions, Jones noted that a clause in the Ohio Revised Code permits school boards to adopt legislation on their own allowing off-duty police to carry concealed weapons on school grounds.
According to the resolution, 73 total officers between the Stow and Munroe Falls police departments -- some active and some retired -- now have written authorization to "carry a firearm and any operationally necessary law enforcement equipment within the school while they are off duty pursuant to the ORC ... and the Gun Free Schools Act."
Jones said the intent is to have the off-duty officers present at school functions, such as sporting events, so they can provide an armed response if one is necessary.
If one of those officers allowed to carry a concealed weapon is at a school event and armed, Jones said that person is expected to let school personnel know.
Board member Rod Armstrong lauded the cost-free measure as a proactive way to address security.
"It's one of the things we can do to help ourselves," he said.
The resolution's Jan. 28 adoption comes in the midst of an ongoing assessment of security in Stow and Munroe Falls schools and other public buildings that is being led by Stow Mayor Sara Drew.
SMFHS Principal Chris DiMauro also noted a push to have "100 percent" of school staff certified in ALICE (alert, lockdown, inform, counter, and evacuate) Training -- a nationally renowned program geared toward crisis response protocols -- will be completed this month. Students will be trained similarly in February.
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