They don’t look like heroes, but they are. I spent several days with a group of Ohio teachers who want to protect their students. Most teachers feel the same way, but these extraordinary individuals did something about it. They took a training course. They learned to stop an armed attack in their schools. They learned to treat the injured. Rather than shelter in place and wait for the police and EMTs to save them, these teachers became the good guy with a gun and bandages. The training program is a success. The volunteer organization that trains teachers doesn’t have enough money to train everyone who wants instruction. These men and women do it for love and they need our help.
“I’m a teacher. Parents trust me with their children’s lives. I can’t hide behind a locked door and let these kids die.”
Most of us would risk our lives to protect our own family. These teachers go the extra mile: they risk their lives for someone else’s children. They train now, on their own time, so they are ready to be an anonymous protector when they are needed. The training course I took was full of exactly the people we want to defend our children. They were school board members, police officers and janitors. I saw school administrators, teachers and staff from both public and private schools. Now they are the first responders when a murderous mad man tries to hurt our children.
“My kids used to go to the school where I teach today.”
It costs the teachers time and money. Before they are accepted into the program, the teachers and staff usually get their concealed carry permits on their own. The teachers also buy their own firearms and holsters. The training program is called Faculty/Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response (FASTER). The Buckeye Firearms Foundation in Ohio sponsors FASTER and pays for the advanced training. That advanced training is usually a prerequisite to carry a loaded firearm on campus. Those are the least of the costs, because you can’t buy dedication like this.
They do it for love. Only love would make you stand in the heat and the rain for a three-day firearms class when you could be home with your family. Only love would make you beat your hands up by working so hard. The bruises, blisters and bandages attest that these dedicated men and women have some their own blood and skin in the project. Only love could make them shake with emotion during a mock exercise in a high school. Their hands go where their heart leads.
“Is this the day I have to use bare hands and improvised weapons to stop an armed murderer in my school?”
We need these armed teachers everywhere. 24 percent of active shooter incidents are in schools. 60 percent of the active shooters die or are killed before police arrive. For bad reasons, we deny people at schools the right to protect the children entrusted to their care. Murderers don’t belong on campus, but we attract them to schools by making schools into so-called “gun free zones”. Fires don’t belong on campus, but we have fire extinguishers and fire drills. Cuts and bruises don’t belong on campus, but we keep first aid supplies at hand. Trained responders belong on campus so our children and teachers are protected and rescued when murderers attack them. It really is that simple.
“Would you rather the murderer shoot students or engage a defender?”
Emergency Medical Technicians taught the class about emergency trauma care. Adults can bleed-out from a treatable injury in seconds. We have a minute to restore breathing. Children have less. Seconds count, and the reality is that police and EMTs are many minutes away. Give the killer more time and he will kill more people. Trained responders can stop the killing and save the injured. The sooner the attacker is stopped the more people are saved. Time is everything.
“Paramedics didn’t treat the injured at the Sandy Hook Elementary School for 45 minutes. It took them over three hours to deliver aid after the Orlando nightclub murders.”
FASTER training is world class. About 600 teachers and staff have already taken this training. Today, most Ohio counties have some armed volunteers in their schools. We’ve accumulated thousands of man-years of real world experience with armed staff so we know the program is safe and effective. The program is a model for other states. Then the program ran into a new problem.
“FASTER isn’t about guns in schools. FASTER is about saving lives.”
Dedicated volunteers run the FASTER program to train teachers. The Buckeye Firearms Foundation pays for the training classes. They pay for the ammunition in the basic classes. They pay for lodging away from home. They pay for the trauma kits that teachers take back to school. Today, the donations aren’t coming in fast enough to meet the demand for training. Isn’t that a good problem to have?
For obvious reasons, the Buckeye Firearms Foundation is reluctant to take government funds. Their teacher training program needs help from each of us today. Buckeye Firearms Foundation is a non-profit organization. They need help from corporate, industry and civic sponsors. These teachers will save lives and we all want to do that. Here is our chance. Make a donation. Here are the links where you can learn about the FASTER program and donate. After you donate, ask your company and your civic clubs to become regular donors too.
“If not me, then who? If not now, then when?”
These school teachers are willing to pay with their lives to protect our children. You can afford a few bucks a month to train them.