COLUMBUS — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on Friday sent a letter to school superintendents to provide information on recent changes to Ohio law and raise awareness about school safety services and resources offered by the state.
The letter addresses the following:
— Student Wellness and Success funding for mental health programming and training
— Ohio School Safety Center resources and expansion
— $100 million in grants for school safety and security upgrades
— New behavioral threat assessment training for educators
— Optional arming of school staff and training requirements
“House Bill 99, which I signed this week, addresses the option of arming school staff. Arming school personnel is a serious decision that is left up entirely to your school. It is optional. It is one of many tools that you can choose based on your unique school situation,” DeWine wrote.
“Other tools, such as a school safety officer, may serve your school better. I signed this bill because we know some schools want to do this and know that each school situation is different.
“I did not want to deny schools this option and wanted to make sure that if a school chooses this option that all training hours are directly relevant to situations that could occur in schools.
“However, I have made it clear that, in my opinion, the much preferred option is to have a school resource officer in each school building,” the governor wrote.
DeWine said his recent school safety announcements are part of a multi-faceted, comprehensive approach to school safety that has been in process since taking office 2019.
Ongoing initiatives directly and indirectly impact school safety through efforts contributing to an overall reduction in violence and enhanced mental wellness services for youth, the governor said.