One State Is Now Arming Teachers. See The First Results

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Efforts to reduce gun violence in schools has been a hotly debated topic over the last few years with several of the high profile mass shootings specifically occurring at schools.

Of course, anti-gun politicians want to “combat” school shootings by making schools gun free zones (which they typically are already). In other words, anti-gunners tend to want to double down on a failed policy.

Other people, though, are taking a completely different tactic to combat the threat of school shootings: They are arming teachers.

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Of course, this idea is horrifying to those who believe that guns act on their own without human intervention to kill multitudes of people. But does arming teachers really make the situation more dangerous?

One news station decided to visit the first school district in Georgia which has armed its teachers to see the results. Carolyn Ryan writes,

Laurens County, a rural community 2.5 hours south of Atlanta is making history in the state of Georgia, by adopting extraordinary school safety measures, to protect children from harm.

It is the first school district in the state to put guns in the hands of some of its teachers and staff members. Outside every school building in the county is a yellow sign that reads, in part: “Warning. Staff members are armed and trained. Any attempt to harm children will be met with deadly force.”

Laurens County Schools Superintendent, Dr. Dan Brigman spearheaded the initiative in 2018, after the horrific shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, in which 17 innocent students and staff were killed. “Parkland woke me up as a superintendent,” he said. “I had a detailed discussion with not only our Board of Education, but with local law enforcement as well, about ways we can improve our response time and preserve lives in our buildings, God forbid a tragedy like that happens in Laurens County Schools.”

After weeks of research and planning, the initiative was voted on by the Board of Education in April of 2018. It passed unanimously and officially launched the following fall, for the 2018-2019 school year. Approximately 28 staff members participated year one. Now, in year two, (the 2019-2020 school year) there are 45 armed staff members.

One of the primary reasons for implementing the policy, known as GAMB, is because of how large the county is. Laurens County spans roughly 800 square miles, making it the third largest in the state; If an active shooter were to take aim at a school here, it could take 5-10 minutes (or more) for the closest law enforcement officer to respond. “If there is an active shooter, every second counts,” said Brigman. He says having trained staff members on-site and ready to respond to a threat could save countless lives.

Now, before any more people flip out about arming these teachers (yes, some have been critical of this idea), understand that these teachers are vetted and go through forty hours of training before being designated as one of the armed teachers in this program. Also, frankly, many of the people opposing this program are ignorant of the situation. Ryan writes,

“There’s a perception it’s like the wild west and the teachers are walking down the hallways with a 9-MM strapped to their side, and that’s not the case,” said Dr. Brigman. “The weapons are never visible, they’re in a locked storage cabinet, and the only time the weapons are accessed is in the event that there may be a threat.” He went on to say, “it’s very, very confidential, it’s very discreet, even some staff members may not know who is on these teams, we try to protect the identity and the confidentiality to preserve the process.”

In other words, these educators are taking this program seriously for the purpose of protection of students and not as some ego trip.

Of course, the proof will be in the pudding in that we’ll have to see whether Laurens County, Georgia experiences any school shootings, but my thought is that anyone insane enough to want to look for people to shoot will be likely to look for other counties than this one in which to commit their crimes.

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40 COMMENTS

  1. If the guns are in a “locked cabinet”, how long does it take for a teacher to get from his classroom to the locked cabinet, unlock it, get his firearm and then try to defend the school? IF each classroom has a cabinet in it, that would greatly reduce reaction time, but then everyone would know where the cabinets were. Whether or not they had a firearm therein is another matter. It is time to come out from behind the curtain. Quit trying to hide what is going on. EVERY school should train their teachers AND the students on how to defend against a random shooter. Classrooms should be “hardened” against attack, teachers and staff who wish to participate should be armed in such a way that they can react almost immediately, and every school should have on the premisis two “two school resource officers”(cops) to take on any shooters. These cops should not be retired “Barney Fife” types, but regular patrol officers who will actually take on a criminal and not go outside and hide behind their patrol car. Why TWO cops on each campus? Well supposing that the teachers were not armed and trained, then a shooter would just find the one cop, shoot him and then he could rampage for 15-20 minutes before any other cops showed up. If there are two cops on campus and especially if the teachers are armed, that scenario will not work.

    • A Gun-Vault can be mounted to secured platform (wall, metal desk, file cabinet) and accessed by any teacher that has the PIN number. Also some Gun-Vault are biometric. It’s always better to something, than sit on the fence and do nothing.

    • For those who oppose the teachers being armed, consider this:
      1. Probably the teachers who volunteer for the job are already gun owners and go to the range fairly regularly. Some may formally have been in the military, and trained in gun knowledge and safety.
      2. If an active shooter should get in, the teacher would be a great asset because: A. There would be no 15 to 30 minute wait for defending the students, and B. The teachers already know how to get to around to areas of the school so where to go exactly, and where to most safely have the kids hide. And C. Even if the cops get there in 10 minutes, THE COPS DON’T KNOW THE LAYOUT OF THE INSIDE OF THE SCHOOL LIKE THE TEACHERS DO, WHICH WASTES TIME GETTING TO THE SHOOTER IN THE MOST ADVANTAGEOUS WAY SO AS TO HAVE THE BEST POSITION FOR A DEFENSE AND FOR GETTING THE KIDS TO THE SAFEST PLACE QUICKLY.
      Guns in trained hands save lives. The anti gun people seem to forget that. That’s why they call the cops when they are in danger. GUNS DON’T JUST JUMP UP AND GO KILL ON THEIR OWN, AND JUST BECAUSE THERE IS ONE IN THE SAME ROOM AS YOU ARE, DOES NOT MEAN IT WILL OR WANTS TO SHOOT YOU!!!
      I WORKED ARMED SECURITY FOR 11 YEARS, AND MY TRAINING WAS EXTENSIVE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA LETHAL WEAPONS COURSE. And my weapon when I carry, has NEVER JUMPED OUT OF MY HOLSTER AND SHOT AT SOMEONE!!!

      • AND, if these gun haters used their heads, why would you want the guns locked up??
        Do the police make their officers lock up their guns until they are needed??? NO. AND IF YOU REPLY “BUT THEY ARE COPS”.
        WHAT WERE THE COPS BEFORE THEY WERE HIRED AS A COP, AND TRAINED IN LETHAL WEAPONS???YEP, THEY WERE TEACHERS, MECHANICS, BANKERS, ETC..
        Wake up people, when you have all that training and time firing your weapon, you respond with your training just like the cops do.
        SO WAKE UP PEOPLE!!

      • I can’t say how many years I’ve been carrying (40+) and my weapon has never jumped out and shot anyone either.

      • As a school administrator for 15 years, I agree with this idea. Judith Aeby’s comments are exactly correct. The schools where I worked had older buildings WITHOUT electric entrance devices, so they were totally reliant on the “honor system”. Our PD walked the halls at least once per day per officer in a very low-crime community, but you can not fix crazy! I get where SEEING teachers carrying could intimidate some people. Cops have way more than the 40 hours of training mentioned in this article. Also, they are not around children all day. I agree that training (more than some states require to carry) should be REQUIRED BEFORE ANYONE carries, especially teachers surrounded by children. Sorry to you “right to carry” folks, it is my opinion!
        Biometric gun cases in each room, would allow teachers fairly-quick access while keeping guns out of everyone’s sight and un-allowed access. In the best of communities, with the best PD force, it still takes TIME to get to the school, access the building, locate the shooter, etc. Teachers would have these issues taken care of before the PD is even called.
        Since this is a public forum, let me tell you what the news media, anti-gun folks, pharmacy companies, and paid-for politicians do not want to talk about when it comes to mass murders. Almost all mass murders in recent history were committed by people taking anti-depressant drugs. From Zoloff’s own website: “Zoloff and other anti-depressant medicines may increase suicidal thoughts or actions in some people 24 years of age and younger, especially within the first few months or when dosage is changed.” HELLO!! We must get this information out and reduce the amount of this poison that is being prescribed. Quit blaming guns! They have been around for decades. What is changed? Mind altering anti-depressants being prescribed like candy. Do yourself a favor, throw your poison away and simply be depressed like people have done since the beginning of time. Mass murders will slow down once people quite taking suicide inducing drugs!!

    • Good post! Another thing to remember is that there is no such thing as a random mass shooting; every single mass shooting was planned ahead of time and – in San Bernardino and Columbine – the advance planning included “straw purchases” (already illegal) because the shooters were unable to buy guns for themselves for whatever reason.

  2. Good Idea! . . . This needs to be implanted to prevent students from being “sitting ducks” AND should also serve the purpose of acting like a deterrent to would be active shooters. These shooters ALWAYS look for “soft targets” (i.e. “gun free zones”, except, of course, the ACTIVE SHOOTER, who’s got the gun). Team Trump and his allies 2020 – KAGA (Keep America Great Again).

  3. In a locked cabinet?!?! These are now deemed worthless by the bad guys. Now they know the guns are inaccessible. Good luck folks.

    • Might as well as have a box of rocks! The idea of armed persons is to be there when something happens, not look for a key!

    • if the guns are kept in locked cabinets then everyone, including the shooter, would know who had the guns.
      That would defeat the purpose.
      Having a sign that says people in the building are armed would go a long way toward stopping a potential shooter even if no one is really armed.
      The signs that say “no guns allowed” are an open invitation to anyone who wants to attempt the act.
      Evan Walmart’s change in policy has sent that message to deranged individuals

  4. The idiots STILL don’t get it. The weapon is of NO USE locked up. It NEEDS to be ON PERSON AND AT THE READY AT ALL TIMES. THAT MEANS 100%. NOT 1% AND NOT 99%. 100%. PERIOD, AND PERIOD AGAIN.

    It JUST DOESN’T sink in with these morons, which is WHY they need an agency like the NRA School Guard Shield program or those offered by the USCCA, all free I would add, to be allowed to speak with and teach these numbnuts.

  5. I believe that armed and well trained school staff would help in protecting our children.

    Israel has had armed teachers for years because the ” RELIGION OF PEACE TERRORIST ” STRIKE
    QUITE OFTEN IN THEIR COUNTRY.

    In the maters of armed self defense, I had rather be judged by 12, than be Carried by 6.

  6. They should be carrying a weapon at all times.
    Weapon isn’t going to do any good if locked in a cabinet & teacher is all the way down the hall!!!
    No more half measures. If you’re going to arm them, do it RIGHT
    😇🇺🇸💖🐦

    • The “Staff” is not “Armed” if they have to get to a locked cabinet to procure the firearm to defend students and themselves. This idiotic plan just shows a lack of common sense among educators who live in a fantasy land.

  7. It is a commendable idea to have armed school faulty armed in case of an active shooter.
    Forty hours of training against paper targets will somewhat tone their ability to handle a firearm.
    I doubt, however,based on many decades of knowing educators and administrators ,that most have the stomach to be the first to fire. They will draw their weapon and demand that the shooter surrender his/hers weapon and that gives then shooter their first kill.If you are not combat experienced. Most people are not inclined to be the first to shhot at someone with a weapon. This is not from the courage to do all they can to protect students and other faculty, it just goes against the way most people are taught. And if they do fire first, are they going to be cognizant of what lies beyond their target – classrooms, students,other employees?.

    It is unfortunate that this country has become one in which you can not trust a stranger and that more and more people need a counter to deadly force. But I do think that arming school staff can only lead to greater tragedy. Leave it to the professionals.

    • All of the school shooting I have read about were not done by “strangers” they were done by persons well known to the school staff.

    • Yes when you need a “professional” they are only minutes away, but the shooter is only seconds away so what is wrong with this?

    • Do NOT leave it to the professionals. They won’t be there in time, and shooters know this. Gun free zones attract killers.

  8. If your people are trained and practice so they can actually shoot and hit there mark. Having a gun that takes more than 3 seconds to get off the first round is not going to help any of the first people in the line of fire. That means a lockbox is out of the question in the room. You can only count on an active response from a concealed carry pistal of a larger size that can be shoot accurately at a minimum of 30 feet, will be of much good. Your shooter will have a rifle that is semiautomatic, and a lot of ammo. Train your teachers well and give them lots of live ammo practice as well as dry fire to make them better shots.

  9. I have been saying for a long time that if laws were created to punish parents/guardians for having not locked up firarms before kids go to school, kids would not be able to take guns to school. A very easy thing to do.

  10. Some of these comments are from people who THINK they know a lot about guns and shooting. Obviously, not so. And many can’t even spell! but anyway –
    ‘in a locked cabinet’ can mean a locked desk-drawer, where a gun can be accessed in just a few seconds. That’s OK; the ‘armed intruder’ will have triggered alarms long before that. And 40 hours of training is a fair amount; we’re not training them to compete in the Olympics! And the intruder won’t even know which teacher has a gun — if he/she has the balls to use it, the
    intruder is toast. As it should be; game over.

  11. Most of these comments are from people who dont know as much as they think they do, or just want to hear themselves brag. And some can’t even spell!
    Since “in a locked cabinet” can be in the teachers’ own desk drawer, getting your
    piece in 3 seconds is easy; and the ‘intruder’ will have created a disturbance
    long before that. Furthermore, he/she wont know which teacher/staff has a gun. IF they have the balls to fire it, game over, good guys win.

  12. “IT’S VERY, VERY CONFIDENTIAL, IT’S VERY DISCREET, EVEN SOME STAFF MEMBERS MAY NOT KNOW WHO IS ON THESE TEAMS, WE TRY TO PROTECT THE IDENTITY AND THE CONFIDENTIALITY TO PRESERVE THE PROCESS.”

    Guaranteed everyone knows who is on the ‘teams’, including many students. Nothing stays confidential in a school! And as a teacher, I would refuse to be involved in this mockery unless concealed carry was allowed, and tactical training was provided on an annual basis. This is a half assed solution.

    • AMEN milady, if the staff have to go to a prearranged location (unless it’s their desk) to access the weapon, they are not armed, just trained! Concealed carry is the ONLY sensible answer!

    • You are correct in the respect that everyone will know who, and you are correct in that it should be concealed carry, As I see it EVERY teacher and on site staff should be able to make the choice whether to be armed or not, after all, every teacher is at ground zero. I agree training is a must, but again the teacher and staff on site must be allowed to make the decision for themselves, we have, for too long allowed a vocal group to make decisions, a group for the most part, are pretty much ignorant about the subject of firearms and their proper use. Those who do not wish to be armed must not be allowed to force their position as the only one. Every teacher in every school SHOULD be asked, there will be some who will be fine with being armed, there will be some who will not, but those who OPPOSE should NOT BE ALLOWED to control the outcome. EVERYONE has the right to defend their own life, EVERYONE has the right to kneel and beg for their own life, but NO ONE has the right to tell someone else they must kneel beside the one who makes the choice to kneel.

  13. Remember, seconds count when the police are minutes away. I would feel much safer about my Grandchildren in school if I knew that they had highly qualified armed teachers at their side in time of need!

  14. This is a no brainer. The assailant is loaded and ready before he or she enters the school zone. Anyone not loaded and ready is at risk. If your going to arm teachers then they need to be armed. These half measures won’t solve a thing. What’s next make the cops on campus put their firearms in a lock box so as not to offend anyone. This is not a sting. We’re not trying to give the impression of a soft target. This is a deterrent. If it is to be as effective. It needs to be known that this is not a soft target, and those who participate need to be loaded and ready at all times. A locked up firearm is not effective. We need to harness the fear used against our children. By putting in the would be assailant. These people are cowards. Let us use that against them.

  15. I have felt school personnel should be trained and armed for some time. Considering how quickly a determined active shooter can move through a facility, stowing the firearms in a locked, indiscriminate location is not an ideal situation, it is better than no counter measures available however. As a firearms instructor, things happen very quickly and reaction is always slower than action. Staff should be properly trained and vetted to carry at all times to be an effective, quick responding deterrent to potential threats. As to the one comment on staff not being armed and leaving it to the professionals, remember this, the professionals may be up to 20 minutes out, and with a determined shooter being able to take 1 victim every 30 seconds, would you want your child there, crouching behind a flimsy desk or 2 layers of 5/8″ drywall? Not me! Remember, in actuality, the “first responders”, are the ones who are there attempting to intervene with their lives for your children. Most police academies spend little more than 40 to 60 hours in firearms training before certification. It is with both firearms and combat mindset training that a person becomes a viable deterrent to an assailant.

  16. A very mixed situation. 60 hours is merely a beginning. Most police have to hit the range at regular intervals. Being armed does not necessarily mean someone is prepared to kill a perp. And shooting to wound is not what should be required. Mental training is also required. And range shooting is highly regulated in many places, in some even your rate of fire has to be slow. Rapidly firing your weapon is prohibited. So many things to be taken into account! I wish them well.

  17. First of all, we need to clear up a fallacy: Israel does not arm its teachers.

    POLITIFACT (10/02/2019) reveals “Professionals deal with security,” according to Amos Shavit, a spokesman for Israel’s Ministry of Education, as saying. “Not the teachers.”

    …Shavit said the guards stationed at schools are under the authority of police

    Israeli security experts also say gun violence is rare there because privately held guns are so rare…(end citation)

    My experience as an Air Force officer, high-school/middle-school teacher, and school board member leads me to agree with the way Israel does it: arm security professionals not teachers. (I am willing to discuss arming non-teaching staff.)

    My underlying premise comes from Target Focus Training and other experts in violence: what’s in your hand is the tool available to you; stated oppositely, if it is not in your hand, the tool is not available to you.

    Consequently, the responsible person needs to carry the tool/weapon (here we are referring to firearms) to be able to get it in hand quickly. Once in hand, the person must not only possess the skill but also the mindset to fire the weapon without hesitation. How many teachers would naturally hesitate when they encountered one of their favorite students? (And which answer to this question from a student won’t destroy trust and lose respect from some set of kids: “If I bring a gun to school, would you shoot me?”)

    Moreover, the teachers’ primary focus would become safeguarding firearms rather than educating children. Initial and recurring training? Teachers already have more than a full plate with requirements for continuing education, additional education, staff development, und so weiter in addition to time taken away from the classroom for mandated standardized tests. (How many ways can we weigh the pig?) Speaking for a school board, we have no desire to divert funds from an already underfunded budget away from educational activities and supplies.

    My recommendation? Fund, train, and assign security professionals to protect our beloved kids and future of our nation.

    • Several things from your comment, 1.”we have no desire to divert funds from an already underfunded budget away from educational activities and supplies.” is in direct contradiction to your next statement, “Fund, train, and assign security professionals to protect our beloved kids and future of our nation.” since this is a school issue funds should come from school budgets which are a large portion of taxes collected. 2. Your comment is well written and has merit on several fronts, but I still disagree with you, the teacher is at ground zero and must be given the choice, not the requirement, to be armed and trained.

      • Thank you for pointing out what appears to be a contradiction. I should have clarified that the responsible legislature should separately fund, arm, and train the security professionals as I did in my note to my legislators.

  18. Every school district that opposes arming teachers and staff, should be charged with negligence. There are several things of interest here, 1. “I HAD A DETAILED DISCUSSION WITH NOT ONLY OUR BOARD OF EDUCATION, BUT WITH LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AS WELL,” let me pose a question, WHO is the most likely person to be in the shooting gallery, it is the students and TEACHERS, why are the teachers rarely included in these types of discussions. Every teacher in every school SHOULD be asked, there will be some who will be fine with being armed, there will be some who will not, but those who OPPOSE should NOT BE ALLOWED to control the outcome. EVERYONE has the right to defend their own life, EVERYONE has the right to kneel and beg for their own life, but NO ONE has the right to tell someone else they must kneel beside the one who makes the choice to kneel. There have been multiple occasions where an UNARMED teacher has put themselves between a shooter and their students, at least allow them the option to defend themselves. 2. “THE WEAPONS ARE NEVER VISIBLE, THEY’RE IN A LOCKED STORAGE CABINET, AND THE ONLY TIME THE WEAPONS ARE ACCESSED IS IN THE EVENT THAT THERE MAY BE A THREAT.” UNACCEPTABLE, this is a very dumb idea, the majority of the time at some point a teacher is going to look up and it is already happening, what good is that gun going to do in a locked cabinet somewhere, even if it is in the same room, these firearms MUST be on the person for immediate access. The FACTS are there and it is proven 1. “gun free zones” are the place where over 90% of ALL mass shootings happen, whether schools, churches, or movie theaters. 2. We have failed our children by listening to the emotional caterwauling of left wing anti-gun loons, most of who do not even have a basic knowledge of firearms, or are so tied into the left-wing agenda of confiscating ALL firearms in the hands of civilians, they are not capable of common sense rational thought.

    • Thank you sir! I wholeheartedly agree with every point you have made! Gun free zones make the perfect targets because the shooter knows he (or she) will have no defensive fire to avoid!

  19. How many times have you seen a person say put that thing away and take the bullets out those things scare me? I know plenty of these people and they are the first to complain about the situation , when they had a perfect opportunity to be the hero. Like the military does the training and separation of men and boys is so necessary and must be implemented in civilian training . This way more time should be given on testing the weak ones responce ability and shake their fear to strength in a positive way so no one gets hurt due to a false sense of confidence

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