Volume No. 15 Issue No. 9 September 2018  

  Peyton parents discuss arming teachers
  By Lindsey Harrison

     On Aug. 3, community members gathered at the high school in Peyton School District 23 Jt in Peyton, Colorado, to hear information about a proposal to create an armed security team made up of school staff members. A concerned parent, who works in law enforcement and asked to remain anonymous, hosted the meeting.
   The host said the decision to request the armed security team was three-fold: school shootings are a reality; schools are soft targets meaning they are relatively unprotected or vulnerable; and no school is immune.
   About 60 people attended the meeting, where they listened to presentations from Laura Carno, executive director for FASTER Colorado, and Marc Fitzwater, founder and owner of I68 Consulting Group. Both organizations offer firearms training, and both presenters explained the training process for their respective organization. FASTER stands for Faculty/Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response.
   The host explained some of his proposal’s criteria that each staff member who would like to participate in the training must meet. He said there will be a screening process through the training to determine if the staff member is mentally qualified to handle the responsibility; that information will be used in conjunction with employee records to verify each employee’s eligibility for the team.
   Additionally, the host said, according to the criteria, team members must carry a 9 mm weapon, although they would choose their weapon, purchase it and qualify through the training program.
   Carno, who brought the FASTER program to Colorado from Ohio in 2017, said her organization has already dealt with 25 school districts in Colorado. In each case, the district’s board of education has retained the authorization to permit each staff member to participate. The board can also revoke it if necessary.
   Following the presentations, audience members wrote down questions they had, and Carno, Fitzwater or the host addressed each one. Concerns included budget issues, school and employee liability and finding volunteers for the team.
   “I wish it was not true, but the only way to stop a person in the mindset of hurting or killing someone is to physically stop them,” the host said. “Not to necessarily kill them but to put them down until they can be apprehended and taken away. Why not give these people, someone who would display the selflessness to get in between a shooter and a student, the chance to defend themselves?”
   The host said he plans to present the proposal to the board of education soon but did not have an exact date.
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