After the latest mass shooting at the Uvalde, Texas, elementary school, more faculty and staff are carrying guns to defend against a future tragedy.
Four of the five deadliest school shootings in U.S. history have come in the past 10 years – Newtown, Connecticut; Uvalde, Texas; Parkland, Florida; and Santa Fe, Texas – and two of those states are red states that have moved to armed teachers.
Ohio is next in making it easier for teachers and school staff to carry guns, including a post-Uvalde law allowing no more than 24 hours of training to do so.
"We just feel helpless," a kindergarten teacher in Ohio told The New York Times as she signed up for the training to carry a 9 millimeter pistol because her older school is not well-secured.
"It's not enough."
Florida has more than 1,300 armed school staffers as armed guardians in 45 of the 74 state school districts after gunman killed 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in 2018, the Times reported.
Texas has 402 school districts with armed school staffers – according to the Times – a total that will likely climb after the Uvalde massacre.
There are at least 29 states that allow school staffers other than police or security officials, and an estimated 2.6% of public schools as of 2018, according to the Times.
That figure will continue to grow, as do the calls to protect our 54 million schoolchildren in the 130,000 American schools.
"The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," according to the slogan of FASTER Saves Lives' 26-hour gun training program run by the Buckeye Firearms Foundation (BFF), the Times reported.
In this deadly decade of those four mass school shootings above, the foundation has spent more than $1 million training over 2,600 educators on gun safety and mass shooting response.
"We trust them with our kids every day," BFF President Jim Irvine, who volunteers as a FASTER director, told the Times.
The name is based on the belief that the nearby police cannot respond quick enough if a shooter is inside a school – as Uvalde's police response has become a cautionary tale.
The school shootings happen fast, as the Times noted:
- Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown took around nine minutes for police to arrive, as 20 children and six adults were killed.
- Parkland saw 17 people killed in just under six minutes.
- Uvalde reports suggest the gunman fired 100 rounds in the first three minutes, while officers delayed around an hour before moving on the shooter.
"Time is all that matters," Irvine told the Times. "It's that simple."
Another Ohio middle-school teacher receiving the training says he measured the length of the hallway of his school before going to the training, so he knew how far he needed to learn to shoot.
"The last thing I want is for people to think we are just a bunch of gunslinging teachers who want an excuse to carry guns in schools," he told the Times.
"I love my kids. I'm going to do everything I can to keep them safe."
The names of the teachers have been left out of the story to protect the safety of them and their children.
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