XENIA — Members of the Xenia Community School Board want to keep their schools safe, but they don’t think arming teachers is the answer.
The board March 12 unanimously passed a resolution opposing any legislation that would increase the number of firearms accessible and present in Xenia school buildings or that which seeks to arm teachers and staff. The resolution called any such legislation “contrary to a violence free learning environment.”
“The reality that our country has to address the possibility of violent attacks in schools is very difficult to imagine,” Board President Cheryl Marcus said. “However, as policy makers and education leaders, we are committed to keeping our students safe. This resolution approved by the Xenia board of education outlines our position on school safety and the need for a broad range of activities aimed at violence prevention.”
The resolution also called on President Donald Trump, Gov. John Kasich, the U.S. Congress and the Ohio General Assembly to prioritize the protection of students and school employees by enacting legislation with funding for:
— Enhanced mental health services and substance abuse treatment so that all individuals, including children, have sufficient access to these services.
— Support for conflict resolution programming in schools, focusing on non-violent intervention and problem-solving skills.
— Increased access to school safety measures, including, but not limited to, school resource officers, school safety infrastructure, and other security measures designed to protect students and staff from an active shooter on school grounds.
— Training for school employees and enhanced coordination with law enforcement agencies and first responders to ensure appropriate responses to incidents of violence in schools.
“The school environment is one that is intended to be a safe place where children learn and grow and where they are nurtured,” Marcus said. “We hope that this policy will promote the development of programs and provide related funding to reduce the risk of violence in schools and society.”
The board — at the request of member Pam Callahan — also voted to schedule a special executive session with first responders and leading administrators to re-examine the district’s safety plan — which hasn’t been reviewed in approximately 15 years.
“This resolution is a start,” Callahan said. “(But) at some point it’s going to come up again.”
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.