400 Ohio teachers, administrators and school board members attend seminar on school violence

by Jim Irvine

On Saturday, March 16th, 2013, a group of 400 teachers, administrators and school board members gathered at Villa Milano in Columbus, Ohio to listen to Lt. Col. Dave Grossman talk to them about violence. It was the most powerful event I have ever witnessed and a day which will remain in my mind for as long as I walk this earth.

These were not “gun nuts,” as the media likes to call those who devote time to improving the life saving skill of marksmanship, but rather teachers, coaches, and principals who work with our kids every day, and love our kids and will sacrifice everything for them, just as those in Newtown, Connecticut did for their students.

As I greeted people, I found they were excited to learn something new, but a little guarded about what we would present to them. Some were nervous about being seen at a gun group function or concerned if they could handle the gruesome details of something as horrible as the mass murder of children.

In my opening remarks, I said that they were a special audience and they shared a sacred mission. I knew this as I read through over 1,400 applications they submitted to our Armed Teacher Training Program. But in talking with them throughout the day, I began to understand the depth of how special they are, and just how deeply they love our kids.

Col. Grossman started with a basic talk about safety. He compared how we prepare for fire in our schools to how we prepare for violence, and then asked attendees to look at the results.

The clear lesson is that we have worked hard to address the real issues of fire and have done a great job reducing risk. But our society has clung to failed ideas on violence, and introduced new ideas that have proven to fail our kids in their time of need, and thus we have not done a good job of protecting them from violence. We must change.

Grossman talked about school killers like those in Columbine and Newtown, but he also talked about terrorism like Beslan, Russia. He explained why it is likely that we will see such horrific events here, especially if we don’t change how we protect our kids. Some seemed shocked at just how much worse than Newtown it can be. One person walked out of the room crying, took a deep breath, composed themselves, and returned to continue learning. Our teachers are bravely confronting the reality of our situation. We are lucky to have such people caring for our children all day.

These educators went home better informed about the true dangers we face. They understand the issues, the problems and the solutions. They are determined to make changes in their schools, not just for their own lives, but for society’s kids. Many districts are supporting real change, but many others are not. Teachers are asking for your support to convince your school district to have people inside every building who can stop an active killer quickly.

The program was sponsored by Buckeye Firearms Foundation, but this was not free to the teachers. Many mocked us that teachers would not be interested in real training, or that they would sign up online, but not pay money or spend their free time. They were wrong. Our teachers love our kids more than we give them credit for. They will die for our kids. All they are asking is that school boards take the same time to learn as they did, and authorize them to use the mindset, skills, and tools they possess to stop an active killer and protect our kids from harm.

Has your school board taken these steps? If not, do you really want to place your kids in their schools?

Buckeye Firearms Foundation (501c3) president Jim Irvine introduces the Faculty/Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response (FASTER) Program

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