Fox News recently reported on a very encouraging movement in Ohio. It seems that actual common sense is prevailing in a surprising number of school districts:
Dozens of school districts in Ohio now allow teachers who have conceal-carry permits to pack heat on the job.
In several cases, boards of education have been pressed into adopting the policy by parents concerned about school shootings in the wake of the 2012 shooting at a school in Newtown, Conn. While an exact number of Buckeye State districts now allowing teachers to have guns in the classroom is not known, there are at least 40, according to Joe Eaton, director of FASTERsaveslives.org, a program affiliated with the Buckeye Firearms Foundation which sponsors training for teachers from the school districts.
‘The sad thing is that time is these situations in the most important factor,’ Eaton said, ‘and waiting for outside help is just not a viable solution anymore.
It never was a viable solution. As regular readers know, the number of officers available to respond to a school shooting anywhere is stunningly low. Police agencies staff according to the times of their greatest call volume. Those times do not encompass normal school hours. But call response time is only part of picture. One must take into account the time required for school personnel to realize what is happening when an attack begins, the time necessary for a call to be made, received and understood, the time necessary for the dispatcher to send out the call, and the transit time for officers from wherever they might be when the receive the call.
Officers are now generally taught to immediately enter a school, find and engage any shooters, but this doesn’t always work. At Newtown, CT, arriving officers were diverted by several people near the building that were eventually found to represent no threat and had no part in the attack, but before officers could enter, they had to neutralize those bystanders, which added about five minutes to the time they were able to enter the building. Even after entering a school, officers are almost always lost. Schools are like mazes, and it is the rare officer that would know his way around any school in his community.
Responding police officers virtually never have any role in stopping an active shooter. By the time they can arrive, everyone the killer wanted to kill, is either wounded, dying or dead, and the killer usually commits suicide. The police only provide first aid, do an investigation and clean up.
Teachers who recently took part in the program were taught not only about gun safety and use, but were taught paramedic skills and how to react to active shooter situations, according to WKRC in Cincinnati. Teachers and administrators trained side-by-side with local cops and paramedics at the Tactical Defense Institute in West Union, located in Adams County.
The training entailed practice scenarios in which the armed protector must find and subdue the threat as students flee a classroom. In addition to the combat training, those who attended the exercise were also given combat casualty training where they learned how to treat injuries at the scene with bandages and a tourniquet.
‘Safety of our kids should not be a controversial issue. This is not about guns,’ Jim Irvine, also with FASTERsaveslives.org and the Buckeye Firearms Foundation, said. ‘For nearly 60 years, not one student has died from a fire. That is due to a redundant, overlapping approach to safety.’
‘We should be copying that same method for incidents of violence in our schools,’ Irvine added. “You need something that is effective. Show us another method and we would invest in it.
Without knowing the exact program provided for teachers, it’s hard to comment on it, but it sounds as if they are on the right track. One thing to be avoided for any school adopting concealed carry for its staff is the almost irresistible urge to micromanage, demanding everyone carry the same gun, the same holster, and perhaps even be trained in the same ways as police officers. This is not only unnecessary, it demonstrates a failure to understand why teachers should be carrying concealed weapons:
If an armed attack is not stopped at the moment and place it occurs, then and there, the body count will increase every minute. Anything rule or training that in any way impedes this is dangerous and will cost lives. Teachers need not act as police officers. Unless and until an attack occurs, no one should ever know they are armed.
Chad Baus, of the Buckeye Firearms Foundation, also stressed the importance of training educators in these skills.
‘The single most important factor in active killer death toll is time,’ he said in a statement to Foxnews.com. ‘The longer killers have their way in so-called ‘no-guns’ zones, the more people die. The sooner they are stopped, the fewer people die. It is really that simple.’
‘The importance of the decisions being made by these school districts to make sure that willing teachers and administrators have the proper tools to protect the children in their care cannot be overstated.
Teachers will do anything for ‘their kids,’ including dying.
Baus is quite correct. The question is why would anyone want to force teachers to die in an unsuccessful attempt to stop armed gunmen from killing children? Given the choice between willing teachers, armed and able to protect lives, or unarmed, helpless targets, a surprising number of people still want victim disarmament zones replete with signs advertising that fact.
The 3,500-student Sidney, Ohio school district adopted the policy in the wake of the Connecticut attack, in which a troubled gunman killed 20 young children and six staff members before police arrived.
‘It made us as a school district look at the system we had in place to keep our children safe,’ Superintendent John Scheu told FoxNews.com. ‘We quickly learned that we didn’t have anything in place. We decided to be pro-active.
Even with such rational, good intentions, most educators are not tactical thinkers and make fundamental mistakes that make it difficult, and in some cases, impossible, to act on the primary reason for school concealed carry:
Rules regarding gun handling differ from one district to another, with some allowing teachers to carry firearms in the classroom and others requiring the guns to be kept in locked safes, only accessible by trained teachers.
Nearly 40 teachers in Sidney volunteered to be part of a first-response team, in which they were trained and provided with bulletproof vests as well as handguns that are kept in biometric lock safes in various locations throughout each of the district’s seven schools. It is part of a multi-layered approach as the schools also have buzzer-only entrances and armed security, comprised of ex-law enforcement officials, on duty during school hours.
‘We learned that we may not stop a shooter from getting into the building. If they want to, they will find a way, but if they enter, we can stop them in seconds,’ Scheu added.
I’m afraid Scheu, while on the right path, has not yet arrived at a rational, effective policy. The only way to be certain weapons are actually secure and actually available when necessary is to carry them on one’s person. What happens when staff can’t get to the biometric safes? What happens if they malfunction, or stressed people can’t make them work? What happens if an attack occurs on a playground, or in a sports stadium? What happens when, far from the nearest gun safe, students and teachers are confronted by a gunman in a school hallway or a computer lab? What happens if an attack occurs outside the school while kids are waiting for busses? Guns are on the campuses of Scheu’s schools, but teachers are not ready to stop attacks when and where they occur, which means, as a beginning principle, accepting some loss of life rather than adopting policies that might prevent any loss of life.
Such restrictive policies also fail to take into account the human element. The guns locked in those biometric safes are probably school district issued guns. Any teacher getting to a safe will be picking up a gun–if they are able to get it–that is unfamiliar, a gun they have likely never fired. They have no idea if the sights are aligned properly for them. They will have to take the time to check to be certain the weapon is loaded and chambered.
Anyone carrying a gun for self-defense purposes must carry a gun with which they are comfortable and familiar, a gun in which they have confidence, a gun they know is in a continual ready state, and a gun they can fire with accuracy. The only way to assure this state of readiness is to allow staff to carry a reasonable range of weapons and calibers, in concealable holsters that work for them.
From the other side of the debate:
Those on the other side of the gun debate say more guns won’t make children safer, even if they are in the hands of trained teachers.
‘It’s profoundly sad,’ said Ladd Everitt, spokesman for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. ‘Ohio seems incapable of addressing the real problem, which is the disturbing number of households in this country that make firearms readily available to young men in crisis.’
‘What a message that sends to young people,’ Everitt added. ‘This is a profound moral failing. Perhaps the children themselves would have better solutions.
If Everitt could get to the children and indoctrinate them, I’m sure they would have solutions he would consider “better.” Notice Everitt is reversing cause and effect. Violence occurs because people have access to the tools useful in carrying out violence. In essence, the tools cause violence. Everitt–and those like him–also refuses to acknowledge that firearms in the hands of teachers will be used only for good purposes, to stop violent people who will never obey any anti-gun, anti-liberty law in the process of carrying out mass murder.
Many schools in other states are now following the example of some Ohio schools, but for most American children, actual safety remains unavailable, replaced by the unicorns and fairy dust faux-safety of “gun free school zone” signs.