OpinionFaculty Administrator Safety Training & Emergency Response (FASTER) training.
Buckeye, AZ –-(Ammoland.com)- Disarming willing and qualified teachers and other school staff is stupid.
There has been a lot of talk about “arming teachers” recently, but that's really never been the issue. The real issue is about disarming teachers who would like to be carrying.
Like any other controversial subject, any discussion of school safety must begin with some agreement on basic facts and mutual understanding of terms and definitions.
We can't come to a consensus on solutions if we can't agree on what the words we are saying actually mean.
When gun owners and politicians talk about “arming teachers,” we are not talking about giving guns to people who would not be comfortable with them. Nor are we talking about teachers or other school staff racing to the sound of gunfire to stop an attack. What we're talking about is ending policies that disarm teachers who would prefer to be armed, and empowering them to take appropriate action if the need to do so were to arise. That means providing free – possibly paid – training, and some liability protections for school personnel who are qualified and volunteer for the program.
The Firearms Coalition opposes any proposal that would provide extra pay to school staff who choose to carry. We believe that it is a mistake to offer any incentive other than the desire to be able to protect innocent life if needed.
We believe that an armed staff member's first responsibility is to the children in their immediate care. If an armed teacher is in a classroom full of kids when an attack occurs in the building, the first responsibility would be to make sure the kids in that room are safe and secure. Once that is accomplished, the armed teacher can consider trying to move toward the threat, but that would be a personal decision based on the totality of the circumstances, and the confidence of the individual. Barricading the door, and being prepared to shoot if the attacker manages to break in, would be a normal expectation.
Racing to the sound of gunfire and engaging the attacker would be well beyond the expected response.
Teachers in particular, face numerous challenges to safe and responsible daily carry, because they are in extremely close physical proximity to students, sometimes including contact like hugs or pressing together in groups working on a project. Students should not know which teachers are armed, and they should not have the opportunity to inadvertently bump into or otherwise be made aware of the teacher's firearm. That seriously limits the practical methods of carry, especially for elementary school teachers and teachers in physical programs like gym and auto shop.
We would expect administrators and other staff who do not have groups of students under their immediate responsibility to be better prepared to move toward an attacker, clearing hallways, evacuating areas, and attempting to confront the attacker.