Headline: Local armed teacher training available

by Chad D. Baus

The Lima News is reporting that another training class for armed teachers is being made available as the effort to offer greater protection for school children continues to grow in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre.

From the article:

"It is something that needs to be addressed," said instructor Mike Goff. "When Sandy Hook took place, that really lit a fire that we need to do something right away."

Insight [Firearms Training Development] will offer its first Armed Teacher Program April 20 and 21. Teachers may sign up for training now, but a Ohio Concealed Handgun License is a prerequisite.

The program, which costs $797, will provide teachers with active shooter training from the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy. Besides learning advanced gun fighting skills, teachers and school staff will learn how to manage obstacles inside a structure such as intersecting hallways and open doorways, and how to shoot safely with others around.

After completing the training, teachers will receive a 21-day-home-study course and a two-hour, private, one-on-one lesson at a scheduled date.

"The program is designed to take teachers who already have a concealed carry permit and give them advanced training," Goff said. "We will bring their marksmanship skills way up."

..."The way things are now, if something happens in a school, a teacher's only recourse is to put up some kind of symbolic gesture of courage and die in the process," he said. "We are going to give them skills to survive and protect their students. I don't think anyone should ever have to assume the fetal position and just wait to die."

In late December, Buckeye Firearms Foundation made international news when it announced that it would be offering free comprehensive training to 24 teachers in a pilot program that would eventually be rolled out statewide. Since then, other efforts to train and arm teachers and school employees have been announced around the state.

According to Goff, more than 20 teachers, most from Allen County, have expressed interest. He is quoted as saying that Insight will be willing to go to school boards and lobby on behalf of teachers who want to be armed.

Unfortunately, and unlike in places like Montpelier, Edgerton, Styker and Hilltop (West Unity) schools in nearby Williams County, the article indicates that school children in the Lima area are still protected only by hope:

Allen East schools Superintendent Michael Richards said having someone armed at school has not been discussed there. He believes it has to be a local decision involving a school board and community.

"What is accepted in one district may not be in another district," Richards said. "The final decision is the safety of our kids. It rests on that. That is the main objective. And I also think that you do whatever it takes to give that comfort level to the community."

...Many local schools have gone through Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate training. Allen East staff trained this year and continues to build on it. The school is also considering security cameras at entrances.

"It is a long process, something that has to be lived every day," Richards said. "Not just something you do because an incident has occurred."

Lima schools has done ALICE training for a number of years. Superintendent Jill Ackerman said it teaches staff how to prepare their classrooms and how to position themselves for defense.

"It is not the traditional lock down, hide in the corner, become a sitting target kind of thing," she said.

Ackerman said she hasn't heard anyone express interest in arming people in the buildings. She personally supports having trained law enforcement officers carry weapons but not teachers or citizens.

Unlike these schools in Lima, more and more schools make the decision to protect their students each and every day - some publicly, and more confidentially as part of their school safety plan.

The free Buckeye Firearms Foundation's Armed Teacher Training Program (ATTP) course will be held over three days later this spring, and donations continue to be accepted to help fund the cost of the 3-day program, which will exceed $1000 per student.

Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman.

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