School administrators in the small town of Briggsdale, Colorado, have decided to take protection of their students more seriously. They are implementing a new safety plan – one that includes the arming of teachers and staff.
The plan is in response to the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary last year in Newtown, Connecticut, where 20 children and six adults were killed by a gunman.
Briggsdale School Superintendent Rick Mondt told the Greely Tribune that administrators evaluated their emergency procedures and realized they needed to make some changes. They decided to offer staff members the option of going through high-level weapon and medical training to carry concealed handguns at school.
Staff members who elect to concealed carry at school must maintain a permit, participate in a refresher training course twice a year, provide proof that they shoot 100 rounds at a certified range every month, and complete tactical medical training.
Mondt pointed out an important difference between Briggsdale and Sandy Hook that administrators needed to consider when creating their safety plan — police response time. It only took officers a few minutes to respond to the Sandy Hook shooting, but the response time for the sheriff’s department to Briggsdale schools is around 20 minutes.
“That creates a big gap,” Mondt said. He added that administrators had to find a way to protect students while officers are on their way, and the most straightforward solution to that issue is having well-trained, armed security personnel on the campus at all times.
Colorado Shooting Sports in Greeley was hired to provide school staff with firearms handling and medical response training. They are taught how to safely handle a gun and how to fire it accurately in simulated high-stress scenarios. The legal and psychological aspects of school shooting involvement are also covered.
“We wanted that increased awareness not only in the gun training and gun safety, but there’s also a really good component in the concealed carry training tied to the legal aspects and some of the challenges that will occur along with having a gun in their hand,” Mondt said.
Briggsdale is not the first Colorado school to decide to arm staff members. Earlier this year, Dove Creek and the Dolores County School District RE-2 voted to arm school officials because their district is small and can’t afford to hire a security guard.
Dolores district Superintendent Bruce Hanks, principal of the Dove Creek elementary school, and Assistant Superintendent Ty Gray, principal of the high school and middle school and athletic director, were chosen to be armed. Both were required to be fingerprinted, complete background checks, and take civilian gun-handling courses.
In 2009, Dove Creek came dangerously close to having a school shooting. Two teenagers developed a plan to shoot people in the elementary, middle and high schools, which are in two side-by-side buildings. One of the teens told another student about the plan, and that student told her parents, who reported it to police. Officers responded and found stolen weapons, and the teens were arrested.
“We all knew we needed to do something after that,” said Dolores County Undersheriff Tim Rowell.
According to an NBC News report, 18 states currently allow adults to carry loaded guns on school grounds:
More than a third of the states already allow teachers and other adults to carry guns to school. In most cases, all you need is the equivalent of a note from the principal — you usually don’t even need law enforcement approval.
The St. Helens School Board in Oregon recently decided to allow teachers who have concealed carry permits to bring handguns to school. The 4-1 vote to restore gun rights to teachers took place just a few days after a Nevada middle school student fatally shot himself and a math teacher.
An anonymous Briggsdale staff member who has opted to be among the armed said the following about the school’s decision:
“It is well worth taking the training and assuming the responsibility of carrying a concealed weapon in the school, if knowing that if it was to happen at our school, I could possibly, and hopefully, do something to stop the situation and save some kid’s life.”
“I personally am thankful that I have made the decision to carry a weapon and commit to the training required to carry a concealed weapon in the school. How could anyone deal with themselves knowing that you could have done something but did not? Becoming a victim is not on my list.”
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Contributed by Lily Dane of The Daily Sheeple.
Lily Dane is a staff writer for The Daily Sheeple. Her goal is to help people to “Wake the Flock Up!”