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Thursday, August 11th, 2022

St. Marys considers arming teachers

By Joseph Gilroy
ST. MARYS - The school district will hold a public meeting to discuss the idea of arming teachers at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 7 in the St. Marys high school auditorium.
Superintendent Bill Ruane at Wednesday night's regular school board meeting addressed House Bill 99, state legislation which allows local school districts to decide whether to permit certain school staff members to be armed on school grounds.
Among others, Ruane said members of the police department and the school resource officer will be on hand.  
"I know we've talked a little bit about this in different times," he said. "It's unfortunate that we're having this discussion and we're at this point in our society."
Ruane said if the school were to move forward with arming any of its teachers, it would do so with an abundance of caution. He said that according to the police department the state requires teachers to have 24 hours of training before being certified to carry a firearm on school property.
The district would require double or triple that amount as well as psychological assessment testing, he stressed.
"God forbid there ever is that incident. And they say every 12 seconds, you know, is another casualty in a school shooting until the police can get there," Ruane said. "It takes police, sometimes if you are lucky, three minutes on a good day to get here. So those are the things that I think we need to have a little bit more discussion about."
If the school adopts a policy to arm teachers, Ruane said just a few staff members would be allowed to carry a gun. The names would be confidential and those chosen would have extensive experience handling guns, he said.
"We aren't just going to expect someone who has never used a gun to carry one," he said.
St. Marys school district has long considered itself a leader in safety, a tradition superintendent Ruane endeavors to continue. The topic continued to serve as a backdrop Wednesday night as leaders prepare to welcome students back for the fall.  
"I think as a school district we have always been a leader in our area for safety and the measures we take. I'd like to see that continue and for us to be the front runners and model that (surrounding) schools look up to," Ruane said.
Ruane also updated board members on a threat assessment or "behavioral incident intervention" team training presentation given by the University of Findlay on Tuesday. He said the speaker complimented the district for its work and said that across the state St. Marys often gets mentioned for doing a great job with safety assessments and prevention.
In other business, board members discussed the need for more substitute teachers. Ruane said substitute teachers are paid $100 per day. While the district's immediate needs are currently met, it can also use more names on the sub list.
"A lot of the one's we just approved will get swallowed up for long-term assignments. It is always good to have as many names as possible on the list," Ruane said.
Ruane said that anyone interested can call the office.
He also said the school could use substitute bus drivers, too.
"Bus drivers are the same thing," he explained. "We need substitutes and those interested can call the transportation department."
In other business the board approved,
• a five-year contract renewal with Minster Bank for exclusive naming rights for the tennis complex. The school will receive $5,000 from Minster Bank with $2,500 payable in 2023 and the remaining $2,500 to be paid in 2024. The proceeds will be directed to the permanent improvement fund.
"We're just very thankful for the support we get from Minster Bank. They have been very supportive of our school's programs over the years," Ruane said.
The St. Marys school board meets next on Sept. 14 in the high school auditorium at 6:30 p.m.
Subscriber and paid stories on this date
Area man arrested for drug possession
CELINA - A Celina woman originally arrested for an outstanding drug trafficking warrant on Tuesday faced more serious felony charges on Wednesday in connection with a fentanyl-related death in 2022.
CELINA - The ever evolving Mercer County Fair blasts off Friday with an exciting first day lineup filled with sharks, axe throwing, the world's finest canine athletes and of course, the opening night country concert spectacular.
CELINA - Efforts to secure a new home for the Mercer County Health District have stalled, board of health members learned during their Wednesday morning meeting.
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Compiled by Gary R. Rasberry
Good weather took hold over the Mercer County Elks on Wednesday for the annual Gary Broering Memorial girls golf tournament, honoring the longtime St. Henry golf coach and Elks member.