NEWCOMERSTOWN — An eastern Ohio school district will allow some employees to carry guns on school property beginning this fall.

The Newcomerstown Exempted Village School District board las month approved a policy authorizing employees designated by the board and superintendent to carry guns.

The district released few details of the plan that will go into effect in the coming school year. Board President Jerry Lahmers says it would be counterproductive if the general public knew how many people were authorized to carry weapons or in which buildings they worked.

But he tells Channel 3 News that could include principals, teachers or other employees.

Lahmers says the change is a reaction to the mass killing at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Connecticut.

The Newcomerstown District has about 1,100 students in 4 buildings with 130 employees.

Only recently it adopted measures that are standard in many other schools.

Those include a buzz-in security system and requiring visitors to sign in at the door of school buildings.

The policy is being crafted with input from the Tuscarawas County Sheriff’s Office, Newcomerstown’s Police Department and the Buckeye Firearms Association.

That group offered offered free firearms training to Ohio teachers and school personnel.

Those carrying guns must get tactical training and be recertified by the Tuscarawas County Sheriff’s Department annually. They also must have a permit to carry a concealed handgun.

Schools officials say the policy should help keep students safe.

Lahmers said a parents’ group recommended the new gun policy.

But some students expressed reservations about the dangers of guns in schools to Channel 3 News.

At least one other school system in Ohio has adopted a policy of giving employees access to guns.

Sidney Schools, north of Dayton, are forming a response team of employees who will have be able to get to to handguns stored in safes in school buildings.

The Newcomerstown plan raises possible questions about insurance coverage.

Insurance providers in the state of Kansas have balked at covering school systems that arm employees.

Lahmers says discussion are continuing with Newcomerstown Schools’ insurance company.

He believes the firm is interested in and favorably views additional steps that increase security.

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