House Bill 99 requires workers to undergo 24 hours of training, eight hours of annual training, and go through a criminal background check every year. These programs must be approved by the Ohio School Safety Center.
DeWine says schools can provide more training if they wish. School districts aren't required to arm teachers, staff, or administrators, the governor clarifies. He explains the law "is giving schools an option, based on their particular circumstances, to make the best decision they can make with the best information they have."
Twenty-eight employees will be added to the Ohio School Safety Center to help districts work on improving safety and provide firearms training, per the governor. DeWine and other lawmakers have promoted other school safety measures, including $100 million for security upgrades in schools, $5 million for upgrades at colleges, and $1.2 billion in funding to address mental health and other issues in schools.
The bill quickly advanced through the Republican-controlled Ohio legislature following the Uvalde school shooting, which left 19 children and two teachers dead. Law enforcement's response to the tragedy has drawn much scrutiny and even federal investigations.
The law has also drawn criticism and condemnation from teachers' unions, Democrats, organizations, and mayors of Ohio's biggest cities, including Cincinnati, Columbus, and Cleveland.
"In the wake of the tragic school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, Ohio lawmakers are rushing to take action to address school safety concerns in our state. The Ohio Education Association and the Ohio Federation of Teachers want to be clear: House Bill 99 will make Ohio's students less safe in their schools," a joint statement from both organization's presidents says, per CNN.
Nan Whaley, DeWine’s Democratic opponent for governor, has denounced DeWine's decision to sign the controversial bill in a series of tweets.
"Governor DeWine has once again ignored calls from Ohioans to ‘Do Something’ on gun violence and, instead, has made our communities less safe by signing HB 99 into law," the former mayor of Dayton posted. "Think about this –– teachers will need 180 hours to renew their teaching license so they can teach your kids, but only up to 24 hours of training to carry a gun around them. That is insane."