(Reuters) - A
suburban Ohio school superintendent who suggested that
teachers be armed
resigned under pressure late on Thursday.
- John Varis,
superintendent of Reading Community Schools
for the past 13 years, had
provoked a firestorm of criticism when he said
at a public meeting Oct.
15 that arming teachers might improve school
- Many parents in the
working-class community were alarmed
by the suggestion and circulated
petitions calling for his removal. No
action was taken by the Reading
school board until after the Nov. 3 election,
when two new members
- Seeking to ease concerns, Varis said the suggestion
one of many ideas tossed about at a brainstorming session and
never have been applied without community approval.
- He said he envisioned keeping
guns for possible use by
teachers in a tightly secured central
- School board members declined to elaborate on an agreement
under which Varis stepped down immediately and received a $165,000 buyout
on the remaining three years of his contract with the 1,400-student
- In another incident involving classroom safety, six
schools reopened on Thursday in Mason, Ohio, after shutting down
two days following a mailed bomb threat traced to prison inmate.
- The inmate,
Christopher Kerr, 28, signed his name to
a letter threatening that a
bomb would be detonated in the Mason High
School cafeteria on
Wednesday. Intensive searches of all schools turned
up no evidence of
- Kerr, who has been in solitary confinement at the Southern
Ohio Correctional Facility, admitted to prison authorities that he sent
the letter. They said he was still upset because he had been expelled from
the high school several years ago.