Training Armed Teachers in Colorado: just your everyday warrior-hero
by Rob Morse
What does it mean to be a warrior, a hero, and a first responder. I sat in on a class where volunteer school staff learned to stop an armed attack. They learned how to treat the injured until help arrives at their school. When they need these skills, they will need them urgently. Mere seconds will count and lives will depend on their actions. We need more of these trained teachers.
The training program is called FASTER for Faculty/Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response. This class in the Denver area drew about two dozen school staff from across the state of Colorado. Since the attack on the school in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, about two thousand teachers across the US have taken FASTER training. The volunteers in this class came from both new schools that were setting up their first security program and from existing districts that were expanding their staff. There was a lot to cover in this three day survey course.
I call it a survey course because the information we learned one minute had to be applied the next. These teachers will take these basic building blocks and their medical kits home with them. There, they will taylor the program for their particular school. The attendees ranged from school superintendents to bus drivers and custodians. We can call all of them teachers, but 60 percent of FASTER students are from non-classroom positions. While the FASTER Colorado instruction and instructors are world class, the application is cutting edge.
The training course borrows everything it can. They take emergency trauma training from the military. From police academies, they borrow training techniques on how to shoot. The course uses concealed carry methods from the civilian world. With all it borrows, the application is unique to FASTER.
Armed first responders are not the police. These teachers don’t have to chase fleeing bad guys across town. Neither are these teachers like private gun owners who can retreat, lock their bedroom door, and wait for police to arrive. Defending our kids requires a special mix of determination and restraint. Each volunteer and each school applies what they learned in a way that fits their unique resources and needs. Some of these schools expected the police to arrive 40 minutes after they are called. They are on their own until help arrives.
These volunteers learned a lot. Some of these volunteer school staff were new to carrying a concealed firearm. They overcame their uncertainty as they were trained. They learned the new mechanical skills with practice. They also learned emergency trauma care. We put on tourniquets and packed wounds. We learned about the legal use of lethal force, and how to apply chest seals to save a life. That was the easy part.
The hard part was attitude and mental preparation. Everyone wants to stop the killing, but no one wants to kill. The sad, hard, fact is that sometimes we have to shoot someone in order to save lives. That warrior ethic was the hard part for us to grasp. These teachers accepted the uncomfortable and unfamiliar roll of warrior because of who they love. They love their kids. These school staff will risk their life to save their students.
These volunteer school staff sacrificed their innocence to become protectors.
Their character and their commitment were essential.
Mindset is the key to saving lives. You might have a slow draw as you present your firearm to stop the threat. That adds fractions of a second, but denying that the gunshot you heard down the hall is real can add forever. That denial is our all-to-normal response.
We assume the sound we heard isn’t a gunshot since we don’t expect an attack on our schools. We assume the screams we hear are a from a game or a fight since we don’t normally hear our children screaming in terror. Unfortunately, today, those nightmares can be real. Now what are we going to do?
The warrior mindset says that those sounds are the worst thing we can imagine. We will go find the cause and be prepared to stop someone who could be killing our kids. That determination to do whatever it takes to save lives is the attitude of a hero.
We don’t use the term “hero” very often. It took me a minute to be comfortable with it. Maybe you are familiar with a hero’s attitude. See for yourself if I’m using it correctly.
This is a hero’s prayer-
I hope that evil never comes to my school. But if my children are threatened, then I pray that I am there. Let it be me who stops it.
For if not me, then who? If not now, then when?
I wish you could meet the instructors and students I saw. We are blessed that volunteer school staff are eager to save our children. We are rich beyond measure that they are our neighbors.
We need more volunteers like them.
- Graham Dunne- Colorado Concealed Permit.com
- Quinn Cunningham- Fortitude Training Concepts, LLC
- Paul Gregory- Gunfighting International, LLC
- Andy Higgins-
FASTER CO Program Sponsors-