NEW RICHMOND, Ohio — New signs outside school buildings across the New Richmond Exempted Village School District are generating buzz online.
The signs were put up this semester to coincide with the district’s launch of its armed staff program, Superintendent Tracey Miller said.
The signs read, “Attention. Please be aware that the staff may be armed and will use whatever force is necessary to protect our students and staff.”
“It’s just so that everybody understands the importance of, if they’re about to make a bad decision, what the repercussions could be,” Miller said.
Miller said the signs are intended to serve as a deterrence to bad actors who might threaten the school community.
“We don’t want there to be any vagueness,” he said.
Photos of the signs were shared hundreds of times on Facebook with the response being overwhelmingly positive.
“It’s about time!” wrote one Facebook user on a photograph of the sign. “I certainly feel better about my child, niece and nephews being at school now!”
“What took so long?” wrote another user.
While a majority of those responding online were supportive of the signs, some expressed concern.
“I saw that this morning,” wrote one Facebook user. “I wasn’t very happy to find out that way.”
Miller said the district launched its armed staff program this semester.
District guidelines note that weapons must be concealed and that armed employees must respond to violent intruders when made aware of them.
The district has a school resource officer serving the middle and high school campus. Separate from the armed staff program, Miller said the district has part-time help on elementary campuses.
“Bad guys don’t schedule a time where they’re going to show up and tell you when they’re going to do something bad, they just show up,” he said. “So we need to be prepared.”
More than 60 districts statewide have submitted rosters of armed staff to the state, according to an updated list provided Thursday by the Ohio Department of Public Safety.
New Richmond Exempted Village School District was not listed among those with approved rosters.
“The list of 61 schools who have submitted a roster of authorized staff is accurate as of (Thursday),” wrote a representative from the state. “The Ohio School Safety Center does not disclose where schools are in the process until they have completed the process and submitted rosters of authorized armed staff.”
WCPO 9 reached out to the district to ask about the roster, but did not receive a response.
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