A school superintendent explains that he's not a "gun person," but nonetheless he's trained and armed nearly 20 school faculty and staff members because it can take 15 minutes for officers to arrive when an "active shooter" incident develops.
Parents, he has found, love the idea.
A report from The Washington Stand explains John Scheu, superintendent of the Benjamin Logan Local School District in Ohio, set up a similar program in nearby Sidney City Schools 10 years ago following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The report explains Scheu described how he worked then with the county sheriff to improve school security, with cameras and better doors and locks.
But, he told The Washington Stand. "The Sandy Hook situation showed us that we can have the most secure buildings in the country, and if an active shooter wants to come in and do that kind of carnage to students, they can, so that’s when we sat down and came up with the plan that had an armed presence trained by the sheriff’s department."
The conclusion was straightforward: deputies could take 15 minutes to arrive and an armed faculty or staff member was on scene immediately.
"Time is of paramount importance," he concluded.
"The policy [at Benjamin Logan] we came up with is one to train volunteers — secretaries, custodians, teachers’ aides, principals — to either conceal carry or have an assigned firearm that’s securely stored and available to them in the event of an active shooter," he told The Stand.
"They go through intense training and are the first line of defense if there’s a shooter. They don’t help the police once they arrive — they’re instructed to put the threat out as soon as possible and retreat as soon as law enforcement identifies themselves."
"The parents overwhelmingly have supported the armed response team, so we feel pretty confident that the community in general is supportive of having a trained and qualified armed response team to back up our school resource officers and the police," he explained.
Some teachers expressed concern about serving as "law enforcement," he said, and he understands.
But the entire program is volunteer and "every one of these people are very, very committed to protecting their fellow teachers and students in the unlikely event of an active shooter."
Meg Kilgannon, senior fellow for Education Studies at Family Research Council, told The Washington Stand that school children should be protected, like other "precious assets."
"Allowing willing and trained teachers and staff to serve on an armed response team is a reasonable and praiseworthy endeavor."
Schools there even have put up signs warning that active shooters will be met by an armed response team.
Scheu said, "It’s just a matter of telling people we’re not a soft target. Do not pick us to do your carnage."
Such programs are catching the attention of more and more schools, the report noted, as 33 states already legally permit teachers to carry firearms on campus.
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