by Brittany Raymer
Digital Writer & Editor
As the school year is set to begin, teachers and administrators are probably reevaluating their security procedures in the wake of the recent mass shootings. Though many options are probably on the table, is arming teachers one possible solution?
In the last couple of months, the nation has mourned the lives lost during several mass shootings, but perhaps the most heartbreaking is the loss of life in Uvalde, Texas, where police officers reportedly waited over an hour to engage with a deranged and emotionally disturbed young man shooting students and teachers.
After these incidents, the question always turns to analyzing and debating what failures in school, society, family and the government led to that tragedy? Did the local authorities act fast enough? Do we need stricter gun laws? Did school administrators and teachers do everything they could to intervene and help support troubled students? Did parents, friends, and the public warn officials about a disturbed young man, or just brush off increasingly erratic and potentially dangerous behavior?
While there’s no doubt that the police inaction was by far the most detrimental factor in the cases of Uvaldeand Parkland, Florida, it’s possible that having armed teachers and administrators, trained to respond to such an incident in real time, could protect and help save lives.
The ability of an armed and trained individual to put an end to an active shooter situation quickly and effectively was recently seen in Greenwood, Indiana, where 22-year-old Elisjsha Dicken neutralized an active shooter in a mall in the span of 15 seconds with 10 rounds, with 8 hitting the suspect.
Dicken also had the wherewithal to motion “other people to exit behind him.”
Police officers and city officials hailed him as a hero for his quick actions and decisive movements. Though three people did lose their lives in the span of those precious moments, the casualty count could have been much higher without Dicken’s selfless intervention.
Could the same thing happen in a school, but with an armed teacher or administrator quickly addressing a shooting while emergency personnel are on their way?
FASTER Colorado, which stands for Faculty/Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response, is a program that helps equip “teachers, administrators and other school employees to stop school violence quickly and administer medical aid immediately.” It’s not a replacement for police officers or EMTs but gives officials the skills they need to act quickly and save the lives of children while waiting for those emergency responders.
No parent wants to get a call that there was a mass shooting at their child’s school, but something like FASTER can give families the peace of mind that trained school representatives can respond quickly if the worst should happen.
On Monday August 8, Laura Carno, the executive director of FASTER Colorado, will be speaking at the John Locke Foundation’s biweekly Shaftesbury Society event, occurring at noon (it will also be livestreamed). She will be talking about how Colorado has trained armed school staff members for about six years and discusses national trends and what has changed since the shooting in Texas. (Lunch is provided for $8.)
This event is open to the public, and a great opportunity for concerned parents, grandparents and citizens to learn alternatives that might be available to schools across North Carolina.
You can sign up for the event here.