Schools in Ohio around the country continue to be a political battleground. Much of it over the past year has been about COVID-19 safety measures such as masks and vaccine mandates. Then came the fight over whether students should be taught historical facts about how slavery and racism shaped America's past and present. Now there might be actual ammunition in our educational spaces.
The Republican-dominated Ohio House of Representatives passed a new bill aimed at lessening the amount of training teachers would need if they wanted to carry weapons to school. The bill sets a minimum of 20 hours of training, far below what peace officers receive, and allows school districts to decide whether armed teachers need additional hours. The bill is intended to make it easier for teachers to fire back at potentially armed assailants in schools.
This bill says so much about our country. On the broadest scale, it shows just how fixated our society is on guns. When a person has cancer, the doctor doesn't prescribe more cancer as a cure. Yet instead of trying to control guns and limit the possibility of more school shootings, the House's solution was to make it easier for more guns to be in schools.
More guns in schools lead to additional problems. Police officers receive hundreds of hours of training to use their guns and how to operate during tactical situations. And, on occasion, police officers have been known to make mistakes or be hasty with their firearms.
Why is it that teachers, who are not peace officers, and who, for the most part have not had tactical training, will have less training than cops?
What happens if a teacher opens fire on someone they thought had a weapon, only to find out the person was unarmed? Can a teacher be sure they won't hit students or faculty during the chaos of a school shooting? Any discharge of a gun in an enclosed setting, outside of a gun range, can spell disaster. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
So here we are, in a state where people find actual historical facts too dangerous for the classroom, but firearms are OK. I hope that this doesn't backfire on us.
Kevin Necessary is an illustrator and editorial cartoonist. His editorial cartoons appear Sundays in The Enquirer.