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Ohio Board of Education's Nick Owens Says School Security Should Be Decided Locally

The Ohio Board of Education (pictured) is faced with a third of high school students not on track to graduate with new standards.
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU
The Ohio Board of Education (pictured) is faced with a third of high school students not on track to graduate with new standards.
Ohio Board of Education member Nick Owens says school security should be handled locally since rural districts -- such as  the one he lives in, Georgetown Exempted -- are different than urban districts.
Credit STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU
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STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU
Ohio Board of Education member Nick Owens says school security should be handled locally since rural districts -- such as the one he lives in, Georgetown Exempted -- are different than urban districts.

Thousands of Ohio students held demonstrations Wednesday pushing for stricter state and federal gun laws in order to make their schools safer, but one Ohio Board of Education member says school security issues should be handled at the local level.

Nick Owens on school safety

Ohio law requires each school administrator to create an emergency response plan for individual school buildings. Those plans should include protocols for how to respond to any threat of student safety and how to notify parents. But the state does not dictate security requirements for schools in terms of the hardware in a building—think metal detectors and security cameras.

Some districts, like Georgetown Exempted Village Schools in southwestern Ohio, allow certain teachers to carry firearms. State Board of Education member Nick Owens, who lives in Georgetown, says each district is unique and should have the right to make security decisions on its own.

“I think Georgetown schools in rural Brown County is a lot different than Columbus City schools and I think each should be decided as a local control issue.”

Wednesday, thousands of Ohio students held vigils remembering the 17 victims of the February Parkland, Florida, school shooting. Many of those demonstrations included calls for stricter gun laws and increased security in schools.

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Ashton Marra covers the Capitol for West Virginia Public Radio and can be heard weekdays on West Virginia Morning, the station’s daily radio news program. Ashton can also be heard Sunday evenings as she brings you state headlines during NPR’s weekend edition of All Things Considered. She joined the news team in October of 2012.