by Rob Morse
Arming school teachers is a hard subject to discuss. Last [summer] I took a training class where school staff learned to protect students from an armed attacker. What these teachers did was extraordinary. As you would expect, school staff take their students safety very seriously. The teachers want to protect “their kids”. They worked hard to put their bodies between a bullet and someone else’s children. They did an amazing job. Those teachers are not the caricatures I remember from my childhood. Our distorted childhood memories are one of the largest issues we face when we talk about arming school staff.
This may come as a surprise, but the world has changed since we were kids. We have changed as well. Nowhere is that more apparent than when we visit our child’s school. We’ve grown up, and we don’t fit in those little desks anymore. We will also find that school teachers are remarkably articulate even though they once spoke to us in the short and simple sentences that a child can understand. We didn’t know this when we were young, but teachers have the full range of human reactions.
Let’s look at defending our kids from an adult perspective. We want school staff to protect our children. Lots of us have a gun so we can protect our kids when they are with us. Teachers feel the same way, and they want the same chance to survive that we have. Bring your adult experience and let’s look at what school staff do to protect our children.
-We can own a firearm if we’re not a felon or other prohibited person. It isn’t that hard to buy a gun. The kid behind the counter at your local sporting goods store knows how to process the paperwork. Fortunately, school staff are required to have FBI background checks since they are around children. That means we have certified good guys and good gals around our kids, so these teachers could probably buy a gun.
-In the training programs I’ve studied, armed school staff already have their concealed carry permits. Concealed carry training means you are safe enough to go armed in public. For the concealed carry holder, a gun is a defensive tool that allows them and their family to escape from a criminal.
-In the unlikely event that an armed teacher has to defend their kids, then they have to close with and stop the murderer before another child or staff member is hurt.
That isn’t how most of us are trained. The largest program for training armed school staff has a curriculum that bridges the gap between being a gun owner and being an armed defender. This is what these teachers had to do.
- Pass the required background checks and buy a firearm that fit them.
- Pass a concealed carry course to receive their state carry license.
- Take a class to review firearms safety and learn to present a gun from a concealed holster.
- Learn to be effective with a firearm. Qualify for speed and accuracy in shooting tests that exceed the state requirements for law enforcement officers. Learn tactical casualty care. Pass force-on-force exercises where you are defending other people.
- Attend a refresher course that develops consistent responses to stressful situations. This includes more firearms handling, more hand-to-hand defense, and more emergency medical care.
- Some of these teachers also conduct practice drills in their schools with local deputies and medical responders.
I watched my classmates work their way through these difficult exercises. These are not the teachers I remembered from when I was a child. These teachers are both reticent to use violence and committed to the safety of their students. They practiced that delicate balance and are exactly the people I want to protect my children.
If there is a test, I’m betting on them to pass.