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Ohio Lawmakers Consider Guns in Schools, Religion Courses

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Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 1:34 PM

A sign indicates a gun-free school zone in Yosemite Valley.

Ohio schools are generally thought of as gun-free zones, but there are exceptions. State law dictates that no one can carry a weapon on school grounds unless they have written authorization from the local school board.

“As long as a school board gives them approval they can have all the teachers, all the janitors all the staff, they can have all the parents, they can have anyone carry weapons in the school as long as they give them approval," says Kristina Roegner, a Republican House member from the Hudson area. "And right now there are no protocols, no safeguards, there’s nothing.”

[audio href="" title="Ohio Lawmakers Consider Guns in School, Religion Classes"]Both of these bill will have hearings in before the Education Committee today.[/audio]

Roegner says that loophole needs tightening, so she's introduced a bill that would require districts to work with local law enforcement in deciding who can carry a gun in school and how to train them.

Her bill would also allow schools to conceal the names of individuals permitted to carry weapons, and it would protect those individuals from liability for any accidents unless they were the result of "reckless and wanton conduct.”

Another bill that’s getting a hearing this week by the House Education committee aims to encourage religious education.

It would allow public high schools to give credits for religion courses students take outside of school.

“If you look at your dollar bill it says in God we trust. If you go to court they ask you to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God," says Democrat Bill Patmon of Cleveland, one of the bill's sponsors. "Woven through our society is references to God. I would not like that to be a mystery for some young person.”

Classes in any religion could count as long as they meet certain academic qualifications. Students would have to pay for their own transportation to-and-from religion classes.

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