Left: Former Sunman-Dearborn schools teacher Sam Melton told the Sunman-Dearborn School Corporation board he was disappointed to the board’s decision to approve a policy for concealed carry in the corporation. Right: East Central High School alumni Daniel Busch speaks for a concealed carry policy for Sunman-Dearborn School Corporation Thursday, Sept. 13. The boar of edcuaiton approved a policy to allow some employees to be armed.
Sunman-Dearborn schools OK concealed carry in the buildings
The Sunman-Dearborn Community School Corporation board of education approved a policy to let school employees carry weapons in the school buildings.
The board voted 7-0 at the Thursday, Sept. 13, meeting for the policy that will let any employee except teachers be armed.
The vote came after the second reading of the policy with little comment from board members. But 15 people who attended the meeting held, in the cafeteria instead of the library as usual, spoke out after the vote during public comments.
The policy calls for an employee who wants to carry a gun to pass a psychiatric evaluation; the weapon must be semi-automatic, fire only frangible (bullets that are brittle and can break up and not ricochet), not have a chambered round, and it must be carried at all times and not be stored in the buildings.
Employees would have to complete two training courses and then be approved by the board. The names of the employees would be kept confidential.
“(The policy) would apply to any Sunman-Dearborn Community School Corporation employee whose primary responsibility is not the direct supervision of students or whose primary job location is not a classroom,”
Superintendent Andrew Jackson said at the August meeting.
Teachers and instructional assistants would not be permitted to conceal carry at school, which several people at an earlier meeting said they did not agree with.
The training requirement was moved out of the policy and into the administrative guidelines of the corporation. The resolution states: “The superintendent shall develop Administrative Guidelines to address training, continuing education, and reauthorization.”
Before the vote Sept. 13, board member Jamie Graf said the policy was “looked at long and hard for months. … The decision was not made lightly. We are doing what we think is best” for the corporation.
The public comments came later, with people on all sides of the issue speaking.
Robyn Stuhan, who has children attending school in the corporation, wanted to know when the first armed employee would be at school because she said she wanted to transfer her children out of the schools before it happened. No timeline was given for the first employee to be granted permission.
“I won’t bring them here,” she told the board.
After the meeting, Stuhan said she was a student teacher at Bridgetown Middle School, in the Oak Hills School District in Hamilton County, Ohio, and said she texted her fellow teachers to ask about the policy. She said none would want to teach in the Sunman-Dearborn corporation.
East Central High School senior Molly Graham said it was “repulsive the discussion was not carried out in a community setting.” She said no one had asked her or other students of their opinion about the concealed carry policy.
“I’ve spoken at both safety meetings and I feel let down. Our voices are not being heard.”
Her father and mother also spoke against the policy.
But Greg Rouse, who has three children in the corporation, said he applauded the board for making the decision. “You guys stepped up and made a hard move.” His son also spoke in favor of the policy.
Daniel Busch said he went to East Central High School and spent five years in the military. He said he applauded the decision. “Put your differences aside and consider what’s more important, kids lives or opinions,” he said.
“I want someone who will stand up and confront an active shooter.”
Sam Melton, a former corporation teacher, and current principal of Dillsboro Elementary School in the South Dearborn Community School Corporation, said he had spent part of the week at a school safety seminar in Indianapolis. He said no one he talked with at the seminar agreed with arming employees.
“When it comes to arming staff, I have a real problem with that,” Melton said. “I am disappointed with the board decision.”