No matter what side you fall on in the debate on arming teachers, I think most people can agree that if teachers are to be armed, there should be some standards. Apparently, Colorado law makers don’t think so.
Whenever giving someone the ability to handle a deadly weapon, especially as part of or sanctioned by their employer, there should absolutely be some standards in place. To name a few:
- What kind of weapon is allowed?
- Are there any conditions in which that weapon cannot be carried?
- Can the weapon be secured on the premises?
- What are the rules for use of the weapon?
- Does the person have to register their possession of the weapon?
- What initial and refresher training requirements are in place?
- Who is responsible for maintaining training and other records?
- Who carries the legal liability?
- Are mental health checks required?
- What procedures are in place for reporting an incident involving the weapon?
- What procedures are in place if the person is accused of a violent offense outside of work?
As the article cites, and as most of my readers are likely familiar, law enforcement officers and military personnel participate in many hours of fire arms training. Before a weapon is even put into their hands, they are schooled on the components of their weapon, rules for use of force, and firearms safety. On the range, safety discipline is paramount.
It’s not to say there aren’t any standards being put in place by these school districts in Colorado. Many of them may be addressing all of these questions and more. Unfortunately, there is a lack of consistency, since, as special districts, they are empowered to self-govern in many aspects (this is similar in most, if not all states). The lack of statewide standards leaves a lot of room for gaps and liability, and, regardless of altruistic intent, can potentially endanger not only students, but first responders as well.
From a public safety perspective, I encourage local law enforcement, fire service, EMS, and emergency management to coordinate with their school districts (they should be anyway) if they are allowing their teachers to be armed. Don’t only encourage policy, procedure, and standards to be in place, but press hard for it and offer to be involved.
© 2018 – Timothy Riecker, CEDP