Headline: At Least 7 States Now Have Armed Staff in Schools
by Chad D. Baus
U.S. News & World Report has published an article documenting yet another school system in yet another state that has made a commitment to protect its students as our society protects its rock stars and politicians.
From the article:
An Arkansas school district said Tuesday it planned to arm more than 20 teachers and administrators – the first district in the state to do so, according to the Associated Press. The plan is already seeing dissent from some educators in the state, including former Arkansas Education Association President Donna Morey, who told the AP the idea is "awful."
But Arkansas joins at least six states that already have armed guards in schools, states with a range of permissive to stringent guns: Ohio, Colorado, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Washington state.
The idea of giving guns to school staffers has been a point of contention since the December shooting at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school. In January, The National Rifle Association's vice president Wayne LaPierre called on Congress to "put armed police officers in every single school in this nation."
Many state educators have since resisted the idea, but in Colorado's rural, southwestern Dolores County, school district authorities have embraced firearms on school grounds. A February 2013 Dolores County Board of Education resolution that approved arming the school principal and superintendent cited "the District's own experience and recent incidents nationally."
In 2009, Dolores County deputies thwarted a 16-year-old's plot to kill a local school principal.
"We made the decision because it made financial and security sense for our small rural district," Bruce Jenkins, the county's superintendent and now a school security officer, wrote in an e-mail. Jenkins says he has undergone 40 hours of intensive handgun training. According a copy of his security officer contract shared with U.S. News, he is considered to be "on duty" with a gun at all times when he is on school premises.
The article cites a Pew poll in January which found that 64 percent of Americans favored putting armed security guards of some kind in schools.
On average, there are 2-3 casualties when a killer is stopped by someone on scene. The death toll rises to 12-16 when they are stopped by a responding law enforcement officer. Police desperately want to solve this problem, but if they are not already inside the building when the shooting starts, they simply can't get there in time. Experts agree that the best way to lower the body count is to have someone inside every building with the tools, skill, and mindset to stop the killer quickly.
In December, Buckeye Firearms Foundation made news world-wide with the announcement of the formation of a program to educate school staff, which has since been named FASTER - Faculty/Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response.
Since then, we have trained more than 150 teachers through the program. In addition, several schools have made public their decision to arm members of their staff, while even more have made the decision to do so via the confidentiality of their school safety plans.
This fall, students in some schools are finally going to be given the same protection we give to rock stars and politicians. If your school isn't one of them, ask your board of education members why. Better yet, consider running against them in the next election!
Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman.
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