The Olentangy Local School District will allow a district employee to carry a concealed weapon on school grounds for the first time.
Superintendent Mark Raiff presented a resolution Sept. 27 -- approved unanimously by the school board -- that would permit Joe Suozzi, the newly hired director of safety, security and preparedness, to carry a concealed weapon.
The school district announced Suozzi's hiring Sept. 6.
Suozzi's position is a new one for Olentangy, said district spokeswoman Kristyn Wilson. She said Suozzi has signed a two-year contract that pays $100,000 per year.
According to Suozzi's hiring release, the new director worked with the FBI for 20 years as a special agent, supervisory special agent and unit chief.
The release said his hiring would "create an even more secure environment" and "streamline response tactics."
Wilson said last week Suozzi was not yet available for interviews because he remained employed by the FBI. His first day was Oct. 1.
"I'm excited to be given this opportunity to use my years of training and experience to benefit the Olentangy Local School District," he said in the release. "My family and I are active members of the Olentangy community and it's satisfying to know this next chapter of my career will have the potential to make our schools, district and community safer and stronger."
The resolution introduced last week would authorize Suozzi "to convey deadly weapons or dangerous ordnance in a school safety zone" and would require "tactical training" and annual recertification in order to be authorized.
"We've been very specific in this resolution so as to not leave any doubt that this position will be the only position we're recommending, moving forward, to have the capability to possess a concealed-carry weapon," Raiff said. "Joe Suozzi is certainly qualified to possess a weapon. He is properly trained and has met extensive credentialing in that regard and will continue to be properly trained."
Raiff said the concealed-carry stipulation has been added as part of the job description for Suozzi's newly created position. In the future, he said, that will be a requirement for the job.
He also reinforced the fact that the district was not interested in arming teachers and added he had discussed the issue with Delaware County Sheriff Russell Martin, who agreed.
"The first person I call with anything has been Sheriff Martin, and he said in very simple terms, arming teachers is the worst of any bad idea moving forward," Raiff said.
"In my conversations with our staff, they are very appreciative of the board's position on this matter -- the vast majority of them understand that that's not what they're here to do."