Training School Staff To Be Armed First Responders

by Laura Carno

Training School Staff To Be Armed First Responders
Training School Staff To Be Armed First Responders
Laura Carno
Laura Carno

U.S.A.-( If an armed, crazed madman comes to your child’s school with the intent of harming or killing children, who will protect them?

Someone in the school will call 911 when they determine it’s safe to do so, and law enforcement will get there as quickly as they can. But what if that response time is 30 minutes, as it very well could be in some rural areas? What if it’s just two minutes? In active killer mass-shooting events, many people can be killed in that time.

That is not good enough for our kids. Even with a two-minute response time, that’s not nearly good enough.

The fact is, the faster someone is there with the ability to stop the killing, the faster the killing stops. The faster lifesaving first-aid can begin, the more lives are saved.

In mid-June, 17 school staff members in Colorado, who are authorized to be armed on their campus, attended FASTER training in Weld County, Colo. FASTER stands for Faculty Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response, and was the brainchild of Buckeye Firearms Foundation in Ohio. They have been providing this type of training and protection to schoolchildren in Ohio for more than five years. I attended a FASTER class last year, and I came back a changed person, determined to bring this life-saving training to Colorado.

Back in 2003, the Colorado legislature got it right. They allowed schools, with the authorization of their school board, to allow selected staff to carry on campus to protect our children. We brought FASTER training from Ohio to Colorado because these school staff members, who volunteer to be armed first responders in their schools, deserve world-class training that is specific to the school environment.

Since many of the school districts that want to send staff members to FASTER don’t have the budget for this kind of training, we raised private money through Coloradans for Civil Liberties, in partnership with Independence Institute, so that no school would have to forego this life-saving training. Tuition per student is just $1,000 for this three-day class.

Who are these 17 school staff members who signed up? They are from rural and suburban schools. They range from 24 years old to nearly retirement age. Most have been around firearms their whole life. All are dedicated volunteers, determined to protect and defend children should the worst happen. These are people who would use the only thing they have—their bodies—to protect students from a killer. Now with their FASTER training, they have the skills they need to stop the killing, and have a fighting chance to survive and save the lives of those children and fellow school employees—with more than just their bodies.

A Colorado school staffer receives individual instruction during FASTER training earlier this year. Photo by Complete Colorado
A Colorado school staffer receives individual instruction during FASTER training earlier this year. Photo by Complete Colorado

The intensive three-day course covers “Stop the Bleed” and gunshot wound casualty care to keep people alive until medical help is cleared to enter the school, the mindset necessary to act, de-escalation skills and advanced firearms techniques to stop the killer. All participants must pass a test that exceeds the Colorado POST qualification for handgun proficiency.

There are some anti-gun activists who are opposed to this training. They say that we are “arming teachers,” as if we are handing out firearms and forcing school staff to carry. That is not at all accurate.

First, schools and districts in Colorado are not compelled to make a decision to arm staff. That is the choice of each school district. Second, in schools and districts that make this choice, they seek volunteers. If particular school staff members want nothing to do with carrying a firearm on campus, there is no requirement that they do so.

So now what? What comes next after training this first group of teachers and administrators? The next FASTER class, of course!

That’s right. We already have a wait list for the second class of volunteer heroes-in-waiting who want to make sure they are as well trained as possible to protect and defend our children in school. Unfortunately, the wait list far exceeds the money raised thus far. The reality is, if we fail to raise more money, this life-saving training ends today. As a non-profit, we rely on the generosity of our fellow patriots to help us deliver our next class.

We were all students once—many of us since the days when stopping an active killer wasn’t a concern. We know that NRA members and other gun owners will agree that FASTER should be made available to all school staff who need this training. Now we can protect the lives of school children simply by sponsoring a school staff member for $1,000, or by sponsoring a school for $3,000-$5,000, or whatever we can spare. Anyone can help—individuals, owners of ranges or gun stores, church groups, fraternal organizations and others who recognize the need to protect children at school.

School staff in Colorado who want to apply for training can fill out a registration form at

About Laura Carno

Laura Carno is a political media strategist and founder of I Am Created Equal. She also blogs at, and was actively involved in the 2013 Colorado recalls.

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I’m a teacher and I wish this were available to me. Last year we held an active shooter training drill and the run/hide/fight advice was better than nothing, but all I was thinking was that I would be far more useful in that situation if I could shoot back.

Wild Bill

@Teach, At least you are starting to think about the problem. Yes, it would be far more useful if you could shoot back. There are, however, many policies between you and the ability to save your life, and the children’s lives, by shooting back. Maybe that is something else to which to turn your mind.


Have you considered an online “GoFundMe account to help raise money?

Wayne Clark

I think traing volunteer school staff to be armed & willing to put their lives on the line to protect our children, is a marvelous idea. My question would be, why would it cost $1,000 per trainee to take this course? I know that time is money & instructors take their time to teach…but we have volunteers for everything….from soup lines, to house building for the low income folks. Why not for training school staff to protect our most precious of resoursces…our children? I would like to see a breakdown of costs to make a much more manageable assessment of… Read more »


@WayneClark, yes, I’m sure there would be some volunteers. But before becoming instructors, they’d have to take a FASTER instructor certification class, and that’s doesn’t come for free (might even have to travel to Ohio for that). And when teachers take the course, there’s rental time on the range, cost of firearms & ammunition, etc, etc. Point being, there are costs involved, even if all time was volunteered. The only thing we don’t know is how much profit (if any) in included in the $1000 cost cited (sounds to me like a pretty reasonable fee, for a 3-day course). And… Read more »

Stan Young

@yzman Clark – While I am not well versed in the BFA FASTER program I have been aware of it since they started it in Ohio after the Ohio Legislature passed the necessary law to make it possible for teachers, administrators or staff to be armed. In asking the question of …”why a $1,000.00 per…” you might consider the question of cost to rent an appropriate facility (gun range) at which to hold the 3 day course. You would have to contact BFA to find out if they also provide other materials. There is also transportation, lodging and meals for… Read more »