Armed school principals could be walking school hallways in August after a local board approved a new security policy.

Butler County’s Edgewood Schools will allow on a voluntary basis qualified school principals and assistant principals to carry loaded handguns in the district’s five schools starting this school year.

It’s a first for schools in Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky.

Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones, who has grabbed national headlines for pushing for armed school employees, hailed the Edgewood school board’s Monday vote as “breaking from the pack” of the region’s schools that have previously resisted the idea.

“I applaud Edgewood,” Jones said Tuesday. “This is the only one in our region, but they won’t be the last.”

Edgewood Superintendent Doug Lantz said the board voted 4-0 – with member Amy Ashcraft absent – to adopt the policy.

Edgewood becomes one of at least two of Ohio’s 614 school districts to allow armed employees. Earlier this month, Newcomerstown Schools in Tuscarawas County approved a similar policy.

John Charlton, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Education, said such decisions are allowed under the state’s local schools laws.

“We are a local control state and that is a local school board’s decision. They know what is best for their local community,” Charlton said.

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