Weld County School District (Colo.) Preparing to Arm Teachers
Colorado law states that staff members can carry concealed weapons in schools if they have a permit and are designated as a security officer.
More and more rural school districts that are located far from first responders are opting to arm their teachers.
Seventeen Weld County, Colorado teachers took part in a three-day training this week to permit them to carry a concealed weapon in their classrooms, reports WTSP.
At least a dozen other school districts in Colorado have also adopted policies allowing staff members to carry concealed weapons.
The course was led by the Faculty Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response (FASTER) group, which was formed following the tragic December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School which claimed the lives of 20 students and 6 teachers.
FASTER courses are led by law enforcement personnel who have experience with active shooter situations.
In addition to gun safety, the course teaches participants how to treat injuries and provide medical assistance while waiting for emergency personnel.
The free classes are funded completely by donations. Weld County’s training was paid for by the Coloradans for Civil Liberties, founded by Laura Carno.
“These aren’t people who would stop their current job and then move into a security officer job,” said Carno. “It just becomes an additional volunteer duty. The rule of thumb is one person per building per floor.”
Many school district officials believe that these changes are necessary given the long response times of local sheriffs coupled with small budgets that don’t allot money for professional security officers.
People opposed to arming teachers are concerned that the training being received isn’t extensive enough.
“These teachers are not going to get the level of training that law enforcement or really highly trained security guards are going to have,” said Tom Mauser from Colorado Ceasefire.
Mauser’s son Daniel was killed in the 1999 Columbine High School shooting.
Mauser says he has no problem with a well-trained security guard protecting a school but is weary of teachers being armed. FASTER, Mauser believes, is preying on people’s fear.
Sixteen of the Weld County teachers who took part in the training opted to remain anonymous.
The remaining participant, Ronnie Wilson, plans to open a new charter school in the fall in Colorado Springs with 700 students.
“I’m looking for every possible venue and avenue to ensure safety of students,” said Wilson.
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