Ohio School Safety Center Releases Details on Training Required to Arm School Staff
By: Daniel L. Lautar, Esq.
The Ohio School Safety Center (“OSSC”) finally released the detailed training and curriculum that most school employees must complete to be eligible to be authorized by a board of education to carry a firearm on school property. Unfortunately, the OSSC does not anticipate that it will be able to being providing the necessary training until spring or summer, 2023.
H.B. 99 revised R.C. 2923.122 to permit boards of education to provide written authorization to a person not otherwise legally authorized to possess firearms in a school safety zone, provided either: (1) the person has successfully completed the curriculum, instruction, and training established under R.C. 5502.703; or (2) the person has received a certificate of having satisfactorily completed an approved basic peace officer training program or is a law enforcement officer. Most school employees are not current or former police officers. Consequently, a school employee’s eligibility for written authorization usually hinges on successful completion of the newly required curriculum, instruction, and training.
H.B. 99 established an “Ohio Mobile Training Team” within the Ohio School Safety Center (“OSSC”), which would be responsible for creating the detailed curriculum and providing the initial Armed School Staff Essential Training (“ASSET training”). Per R.C. 5502.703, 24 hours of initial training, and 8 hours of annual requalification training are necessary, the fees for which must all be paid by the board of education.
Despite H.B. 99 taking effect on September 12, 2022, the detailed curriculum was not released by the OSSC until December 9, 2022; well after the 2022-2023 school year began. Moreover, according to FAQ’s published on the OSSC’s website, ASSET training is not anticipated to be available to school districts until spring or summer, 2023. Boards of education desiring to obtain OSSC ASSET training for staff members before the start of next school year are therefore encouraged to contact their OSSC regional school safety zone manager as soon as possible to schedule training for their employees.
As an alternative to obtaining OSSC ASSET training, schools may adopt alternate curriculum, instruction, and training, provided such training is first approved by the OSSC, which will verify that the training addresses the following criteria:
(a) Mitigation techniques;
(b) Communications capabilities and coordination and collaboration techniques;
(c) Neutralization of potential threats and active shooters;
(f) Psychology of critical incidents;
(g) De-escalation techniques;
(h) Crisis intervention;
(i) Trauma and first aid care;
(j) The history and pattern of school shootings;
(k) Tactics of responding to critical incidents in schools;
(l) At least four hours of training in scenario-based or simulated training exercises;
(m) Completion of tactical live firearms training; and
(n) Realistic urban training.
Boards of education are free to require additional training, at their discretion. The OSSC is required to approve any curriculum, instruction, and training within 30 days after receipt if the curriculum, instruction, and training complies with the above requirements. Therefore, boards of education desiring to use an alternate curriculum and training are encouraged to complete an ASSET Alternate Curricula – Provider Application and submit it to the OSSC as soon as possible.