In June, Gov. Mike DeWine signed House Bill (HB) 99 which, among other things, outlined the training requirements required for school staff members authorized by their districts to be armed on school grounds. The law requires individuals who are not employed as special police officers or security officers to complete a training curriculum, which includes certain statutorily required components. The Ohio School Safety Center (OSSC) was charged with developing the required curriculum.

This week, the Governor announced that OSSC has finalized the training curriculum, which they are calling the “Armed School Staff Essential Training (ASSET)” training. The new training includes 24 hours of initial training and eight hours of annual recertification training. The curriculum defines the subjects that instructors must cover, the amount of time spent on each topic and the learning objectives that those taking the training must meet. Both the initial and recertification training include:

  • scenario-based training;
  • instruction on mitigation techniques;
  • de-escalation techniques;
  • tactics of responding to critical incidents;
  • neutralization of potential threats and active shooters;
  • tactical live firearm training.

Other modules include accountability, reunification, psychology of critical incidents, crisis intervention, trauma and first aid care, history/pattern of school shootings and realistic urban training. Nothing in HB 99 prohibits a school district board of education from requiring additional training for an individual the board has authorized to be armed on school grounds. OSSC is currently developing additional curriculum for districts that choose to require more training than what is mandated by the state.

OSSC will begin offering the ASSET training in spring/summer 2023. Schools also have the option to select alternate instruction and training, so long as it includes the required HB 99 topics and so long as the alternative curriculum, instruction and training receives prior approval from OSSC. OSSC’s website includes information about the process schools must follow to request the required approval.

Under state law, the board of education that authorizes an individual to be armed on school grounds must pay all fees for the training that the individual receives.

As a reminder, HB 99 does not require districts to have an armed individual on school grounds. It leaves the decision entirely to local school boards. If the board is not interested in authorizing an individual to be armed on school grounds, no action is needed. For a full summary of the HB 99’s requirements, please see the blog post that OSBA’s legal division posted when the bill became effective in September. OSSC has also developed a FAQ resource that provides answers to the common questions they have received regarding HB 99’s requirements and the ASSET training program. If you have other questions, please contact OSBA’s legal division for more information.

Posted by Sara C. Clark on 12/16/2022