The superintendent of schools in the Cincinnati suburb of Reading, Ohio, has resigned because of community reaction to his suggestion that it might be a good idea to arm teachers.

After a four-hour executive session Nov. 11, board members announced a tentative agreement under which John Varis would go on administrative leave immediately and vacate his office by Nov. 29. His resignation takes effect Jan. 1.

The board agreed to pay $165,000 to buy out the rest of Varis’ contract, which expires July 31, 2002.

Varis had been under fire since Oct. 15, when he made comments about the merits of arming teachers for students’ protection. Varis said he was merely brainstorming school safety ideas and his comments were taken out of context.

Varis, who has headed the 1,400-student district for 13 years, did not attend the Nov. 11 meeting.

Some parents had circulated petitions demanding Varis’ removal. Incoming board member Vicki Solomon expressed displeasure with the buyout.

“I don’t want to give this man my community’s tax dollars,” she said.

One parent, Martha Hall, said Varis has done what it takes to keep schools safe. “I send my sophomore daughter here every day in one piece, and that’s how I expect her to come home,” she said.