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(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — Traci Arway, a special education coordinator within the public school system in Columbus, Ohio, has had nightmares about having guns in her classroom.
Arway works in multiple different schools across the district, helping students with special needs, and her nightmare has just become closer to reality, she said.
Earlier this week, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine passed a law that makes it easier for teachers to carry guns within schools. House Bill 99 reduces the hours of training required for teachers to carry guns from 700 to less than 24.
Her response to this decision is disgust and anger, she told ABC’s “Start Here.”
“I am having a hard time connecting the dots of how arming untrained people are going to keep people safe,” Arway said.
Governor DeWine succeeded in making it easier for teachers to carry guns in classrooms, effectively weakening the impact of a 2021 state Supreme Court ruling requiring teachers to receive extensive training.
Although the majority of states prohibit firearms in K-12 schools, teachers are currently exempt in at least nine states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Arway, who has had a history of gun violence in her family, says she chooses to keep her household “gun free.”
In regards to her classroom, “I would leave the profession if I was told I had to carry,” she said.
Working at different schools and in different classrooms on a regular basis, Arway says she takes extra precautions because she is fearful of a school shooting.
“I don’t go into a building without thinking of my exit plan,” she said. “I make sure I tell at least three different people that I’m in their building and where I’ll be in the building.”
Federally, a bipartisan group of lawmakers are moving closer to an agreement that would require enhanced states’ background checks and provide states grants to encourage the creation of ‘red flag’ laws that are triggered when supposedly dangerous individuals try to purchase guns, although the negotiations are currently stalled over a few provisions.
The policy of arming teachers has resurfaced in debates surrounding gun legislation after the mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, which left 21 dead, and Buffalo, New York, which left 10 dead.
The first weekend of June saw at least 11 mass shootings across the country, leaving 17 dead and 62 injured.
“Why are we resorting to arming teachers?” said Arway. “We need to put money, resources and effort into being proactive and not reactive.”
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