FRIDAY, MARCH 1, 2019   ■   *TOP STORY

Madison Win in Armed Teacher Case a Victory for Ohio Schools

Contact: Dean Rieck


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Madison Win in Armed Teacher Case is a Victory for Ohio Schools

Madison Local Schools have good reason to want armed staff. Three years ago a classmate shot four students. This presented a wake up call to the district, showing yet again that no school is exempt from tragedy and failing to prepare for such incidents is irresponsible.

After looking at a variety of options, teachers and administrators took part in the Buckeye Firearms Foundation's FASTER Saves Lives training program last June, which lead the board to authorize 10 people to carry concealed firearms in school.

Ohio law gives school boards the authority to make decisions on safety in schools, including whether to allow staff to carry guns.

However, a group of parents filed suit alleging that only those who have completed the entire Ohio peace officer training curriculum, with more than 700 hours of coursework, can legally carry in a school.

On Thursday, February 27, 2019, Butler County Common Pleas Court Judge Charles Pater ruled against the parents and in favor of Madison Local Schools, saying the FASTER training was sufficient.

"This ruling is a victory for school safety in Ohio," said Dean Rieck, Executive Director of Buckeye Firearms Association. "While I won't disparage the motives of the parents who brought the suit, this was really a case of well-funded, out-of-state political activists coming to Ohio with an agenda."

Rieck says the plaintiffs are really Everytown for Gun Safety, an anti-gun group funded by billionaire Michael Bloomberg whose crusade against guns spans the country.

Rieck continued, "While the Everytown attorneys maintain they are interested only in the safety of children, we believe the real goal is to shut down the FASTER program and set a legal precedent that would prevent teachers, or anyone else, from carrying firearms in schools unless they are police officers.

"Given that no school employee could ever be expected to complete over 700 hours of training, and given the expense of hiring security or police officers, a loss by Madison Local Schools in this case could create precedent that could potentially prevent anyone from being armed in Ohio schools and making them completely defenseless from active killers looking for easy targets."

According to Rieck, the argument by the Everytown lawyers is absurd on its face because Ohio peace officer training includes topics such as law, driving a police car, writing reports, dealing with domestic situations, and other law enforcement issues which have nothing to do with stopping an active killer.

Ironically, the Ohio peace officer training includes little to nothing about active killer tactics, which the FASTER program focuses on exclusively along with "stop the bleed" training for those with critical injuries.

"It's infuriating," said Rieck. "These activist lawyers say they want safe schools, but they bring a lawsuit against a school district that has implemented a program to stop killers and provide life-saving medical treatment. What they're really afraid of is that more and more schools are arming staff. They're afraid this simple strategy will actually work and it will prove the only way to stop an active killer is to use lethal force immediately."

Should teachers be armed?

Arming teachers and school staff sounds radical to some people, but it's a simple and effective option. Objections spring from ignorance about the reality of mass murder and the role teachers can play to stop it. Consider common misconceptions:

Teachers don't want firearms training to stop school shooters.

Some don't. But many do. When FASTER Saves Lives announced a class for 24 Ohio teachers in 2012, more than 1,000 applied. Over the last 6 years, more than 2,000 teachers and staff have taken the training in 250 school districts (over 200 in Ohio) across 15 states and in 77 of 88 Ohio counties, with thousands more on a waiting list. Everyone who takes the training is a volunteer.

Teachers aren't trained as well as police.

Actually, many police officers have no active killer training at all. And general firearms training represents only a tiny fraction of what they learn at the academy. FASTER provides teachers with 27 hours of intensive active killer training. Even with no training, teachers who volunteer to carry at school are often those who carry in their private lives and have a lifetime of firearms experience. In Ohio, only those with a valid Concealed Handgun License can apply for a FASTER class.

Teachers carrying a concealed handgun destroy the learning environment.How? In Ohio, more than 650,000 people, one of every 14 adults, are licensed to carry a handgun and do so in restaurants, malls, public parks, and nearly everywhere else without anyone even noticing. Why would a school be any different? And given that in most schools, firearms are carried concealed, who would ever know which staff are carrying or when?

At least 14 states already allow teachers to carry at school. Another 16 give local school boards the authority to approve school carry. In Texas and Utah, teachers and staff have been carrying guns for more than a decade.

The issue really isn't about guns. It's about TIME. The more time a killer has, the more people die. Based on past mass shootings, on average there are 12-16 deaths if you wait for police to arrive, but only 2-3 if someone confronts the killer immediately.

Mass murderers aren't looking for a fight; they're looking for a slaughter. Teachers don't have to be Rambo to stop them. In almost every case, an aggressive challenge can stop the killing quickly.

Forget the politics and be honest. If it's YOUR kid at school when the slaughter starts, would you rather have armed teachers there, or would you prefer everyone were defenseless, helplessly waiting 5, 10, 15 minutes or more for police to show up and stop the killer before he aims his gun at your kid? Look your child in the eyes when your answer that question.

FASTER Saves Lives

In response to the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, which claimed the lives of 20 children and 6 adult staff members, Buckeye Firearms Foundation launched an emergency response training program here in Ohio for teachers, administrators, and other school staff.

Called FASTER Saves Lives (Faculty / Administrator Safety Training & Emergency Response, the nonprofit program has to date provided high-level training to 2,000 teachers and staff members from 250 school districts in 15 states. This includes teachers and staff in 77 of Ohio's 88 counties.

"The response from Ohio educators has been more enthusiastic than we could have ever imagined," said Joe Eaton, FASTER Program Director.

"When we first announced that we planned to train teachers in armed response and emergency medical aid," Eaton continued, "some people said teachers would never sign up. But within days of announcing the program, we had 600 apply for training. In weeks, it soared to over 1,000. Today we have over 3,000 faculty members from all over Ohio on our mailing list. And more are contacting us every day."

The enthusiasm for this program has gone far beyond Ohio. School staff from six other states have attended FASTER training. In addition, instructors from as far away as Colorado have traveled to Ohio to see how the program works and take the idea back to their home state.

Created by concerned parents, law enforcement, and nationally-recognized safety and medical experts, FASTER is a groundbreaking, nonprofit program that gives educators practical violence response training.

The program is funded by Buckeye Firearms Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable educational organization based in Ohio and the sister organization to Buckeye Firearms Association. Classes can be provided at no cost to school personnel or school districts.

The program presents a carefully-structured curriculum over a 3-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. It is a well-established fact that faster response to school shootings and other violence results in fewer lives lost.

Buckeye Firearms Association is a grassroots organization dedicated to defending and advancing the right of citizens to own and use firearms for all legal activities, including self-defense, hunting, competition, and recreation. Read more.

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