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Laura Carno: Why Students are Safer When Teachers are Armed

Consider two different scenarios when an active killer enters a school.

Scenario 1: The door to Mr. Russell’s 3rd grade English class flies open. A troubled teen with a blank look in his eyes demands that Russell and his 8-year-old children move to the corner in the rear of the classroom. The teen starts shooting, first Russell, then one by one, the children. The sobbing children have no options. They simply wait to be the next one shot. Someone has dialed 911, and the police are only two minutes away. That gives this troubled teen plenty of time to move to another classroom. The shooter wanted maximum body count, and he got what he wanted.

Scenario 2: The door to Mrs. Sebastian’s 3rd grade English class flies open. A troubled teen with a blank look in his eyes demands that Sebastian and her 8-year-old children move to the corner in the rear of the classroom. Mrs. Sebastian draws her Glock 43 from concealment, stopping the shooter before he gets off a shot. The shooter wanted maximum body count, but Mrs. Sebastian stopped him, saving the lives of her third graders. Someone has dialed 911, and the police are only two minutes away. Because the shooter is down, there is no second classroom. Lives were saved because Mrs. Sebastian was authorized to be armed on her campus, and attended lifesaving FASTER training.

In which classroom would you rather your children be sitting?

Students are safer in Scenario 2. Even if law enforcement is only two minutes away, precious lives can be lost.

The difference between the reality of these two scenarios is precisely why Coloradans for Civil Liberties (CCL) brought FASTER training to Colorado. FASTER stands for Faculty/Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response. We know that in an active shooter situation, the faster the shooter is stopped, the fewer people die. In Colorado, it has been law for more than a decade that school staff members, who are authorized by their school board, can be armed first responders on their campus.

Until now, these Colorado staff members—teachers, principals, superintendents, janitors— had to figure out how to get their own training. Most school districts, particularly those in rural areas, do not have the budget for an armed School Resource Officer, much less to pay for advanced skills like FASTER training offers.

The good news for these schools is that CCL raised the money to provide this first FASTER class at little or no cost to the teacher, school or district. Unfortunately, we need to help with fundraising to continue our training.

You can help. First, forward this article to anyone you know who works at a school in Colorado. Next, help sponsor a teacher or a class. Donating to help train more armed teachers ensures more of our school children find themselves safer in Scenario 2.  It is up to all of us to help ensure Scenario 1 never happens in Colorado again.

Laura Carno is Director of Faster Colorado and guest columnist for “Bullet Points with AWR Hawkins”

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