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Trump argues for arming teachers to stop school shootings

By Christi Parsons • Feb 23, 2018 at 2:00 PM

WASHINGTON — President Trump began Thursday on Twitter defending the concept of arming teachers, which he’d floated the day before at a White House session with gun violence survivors held in response to last week’s Parkland, Fla., high school killings.

In a series of morning tweets, Trump raised the possibility of raising the minimum age for gun purchases to 21, bolstering the process of checking backgrounds of potential buyers and banning the so-called bump stocks that turn legal firearms into illegal rapid-fire ones.

But before listing those ideas, the president began the morning with four tweets vigorously defending his proposal to extend “concealed carry” gun permits to school personnel, an idea that was immediately criticized by teachers at the Parkland school who witnessed the killings of 17 students and adults.

Some 20 percent of teachers would be able to “immediately fire back if a savage sicko came to a school with bad intentions,” he wrote. “Highly trained teachers would also serve as a deterrent to the cowards that do this.”

Congress, he said, “is in a mood to finally do something on this issue — I hope!”

The National Rifle Association, which Trump lauded in one of his tweets, has come out against raising the minimum age for gun purchases to 21, a stand that will raise a hurdle for the proposal in the Republican-controlled Congress.


Ohio already trains and arms teachers

Ohio has been arming and training teachers to help secure our school for five years, thanks to a nonprofit program funded by private donations, according to the Buckeye Firearms Association.

The program is titled “FASTER Saves Lives.” FASTER is an acronym for “Faculty/Administrator Safety Training & Emergency Response.”

Created by parents, law enforcement and safety and medical experts, FASTER gives educators practical violence response training, according to Buckeye Firearms Association officials.

"When an active killer enters a school, every second counts," said Dean Rieck, executive director of the Buckeye Firearms Association. "Being able to stop the violence rapidly and tend to the injured immediately will absolutely save lives.”

The program offers a carefully-structured curriculum with more than 26 hours of hands-on training over a three-day class that exceeds the requirements of the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy.

The purpose is not to replace police and EMT, but to allow teachers, administrators and other personnel on-site to stop school violence rapidly and render medical aid immediately.

To date, more than 1,300 teachers and staff from 225 districts across 12 states have received training, including educators in 76 of Ohio's 88 counties. Up to 400 additional educators are set to go through training in 2018.

"It's taken a while for this idea to catch on," Rieck said. "At first, many people told us it wouldn't work. But we pioneered this concept, refined it, and have proven that it works. Now school boards are coming to us asking how they can improve security in their schools.

"Some educators are skeptical. So we invite them to observe the training and see for themselves. Once they see what the FASTER Saves Lives classes are really all about, and when they see the high quality of instruction and how the program has adapted proven ideas from real world active killer events for the school environment, they're much better equipped to make rational, clear headed decisions about the next steps for their school."

Demand for the classes from Ohio schools, and overwhelming interest from other states, greatly exceeds the funding available. The program recently received a state grant of $100,000 per year for 2018 and 2019.

For more information, visit www.FASTERSavesLives.org.


©2018 Los Angeles Times

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