Anti-violence, anti-HB 512 resolutions pass

By Jason Hawk -

Two resolutions — one condemning school violence and the other opposing a proposed state law — have been adopted by the Amherst board of education.

Both were drafted by the Ohio School Boards Association and were passed here without discussion.

The first says school violence has become an epidemic in the United States and children and staff “deserve to attend school without fear of death or injury, and their families deserve to send them to school without the same fear.”

Prevention isn’t the job of schools alone, but is a task the whole community needs to be involved in, the resolution states.

It implores President Donald Trump, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, the U.S. Congress, and the state general assembly to enact legislation that will help schools pay for enhanced services.

Among those should be:

• Better mental health services and substance abuse treatment for everyone, including children.

• Increased safety measures, including school resource officers, equipment, and protections that could shield students from active shooters.

• Training for school employees and enhanced coordination with law enforcement and first responders to ensure better response to violent incidents.

• Preserving the balance between the right to own firearms and the protection of students and school employees from acts of violence.

The second resolution takes aim at Ohio House Bill 512, which would merge the state education, higher education, and workforce transformation departments.

If passed, the bill would wipe out about almost all of the state school board’s power.

The OSBA argues the transfer of power, under the guise of better preparing students to enter the workforce, would actually negatively affect them.

The legislation “creates an environment in which the unique needs of students, educators, parents, and school districts will be lost within an expanded bureaucracy and the role and authority of the elected members of the state board of education would be undermined by stripping the board of nearly all its duties,” the resolution says.

It claims important decisions ranging from school funding to graduation requirements would be made by politically-appointed, unelected staff with nearly zero accountability to the public.

Proponents of the bill say better coordination is needed to ensure students have a seamless transition from school to the workforce.

Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.

By Jason Hawk