Arming our Educators

There is a growing movement in this country to arm teachers in our schools as a response to the recent bevy of school shootings. The thought process seems to be that teachers are in the school, some may be willing to carry a weapon and respond, and this could serve as a first line of defense. This would reduce the response time an active shooter. Teachers just need to meet the firearms qualification standard of the police department and they are ready to go. This may appear to be a reasonable response, but is it really? Is it the best response? Will arming teachers address the issues or create a whole new set of problems?

Armed teachers will not be police officers in the building. They will be someone with a concealed weapon. It is a mistake to assume that a little firearms training can make a teacher an effective active shooter first responder. How many times have you heard or said, “I could have hit that jumper?” or “I could have made that tackle!” or “if I was there, I could have stopped that shooting.” all from the comfort of your couch. Be careful this is not the mindset and the thought process used to make the decision on whether teachers should be armed.

A current trend in the thought process of arming teachers is to have them meet the qualification requirements of the local police department. A review of several state qualification courses (clearly not all states) exposes several common characteristics. Shooting distances are generally between nine feet to fifty feet. Number of shots range from thirty-six to fifty. There are magazine exchanges. The targets don’t move and neither do the officers. Several states do require the officer take a flanking step. I actually passed Ohio’s police officer qualification course with my eyes close. These are not firearms training courses. These are qualification courses. They test the firearms proficiency of the officer.  These are not combat courses, officer survival courses, nor do they offer any tactics. All of which are taught to officers in the basic academy and in advanced in-service training. For those who entertain the idea of using teachers with concealed carry permits, the qualification requirements to obtain a CCW are generally less than the qualification requirements for the police department.

Part II to follow

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