Can Teachers Protect Our Students?

Faster School Training Safety Students Guns Teachers
Faster School Training Safety Students Guns Teachers

U.S.A. –-( Can teachers protect our students? Does self defense really work? I wondered that myself. First, I looked up the numbers. Under President Obama, the Center for Disease Control spent ten million dollars to prepare a report on armed self-defense.  The CDC said that ordinary civilians defend themselves with a firearm about two thousand times a day. We protect ourselves very well. What does that mean for defending our students at school? Teachers are our neighbors. On average, school staff are average students of self-defense. We would expect the average armed teacher to do very well at protecting our students.

Protecting students is a large and complex problem. It would be great to have armed and armored law enforcement officers protecting all our students all the time. We don’t, and we won’t. These very capable officers won’t be on the half million school busses we use twice a day. We have about 125 thousand schools, and many times the number of school buildings. Armed officers won’t be there. They won’t be at choir practice before school. They won’t be at theater and sports practice after school, and the problem grows from there. These law enforcement officers won’t be at daycare centers, private schools, and church schools. The officers won’t be joining the students on field trips. Only elite members of our society can afford to protect their children everywhere all the time.

What can we afford to do with the resources we have? What we do is critically important. 60 percent of the time the school murderer is stopped before the police arrive.  Either the intended victims stop the murderer or the murderer stops himself.

Can we protect our children at school? Look at what we’ve already done to protect our students. We designed schools to withstand fire and earthquake. We planned for those disasters. We changed our building codes to make schools safer. We practice for those disasters as well. Teachers, students, firemen and EMTs all practice fire drills a few times a year. Our fire safety program works phenomenally well. It has been years since a student died in a school fire. Unfortunately, we ignored interpersonal violence in schools for far too long. We can and should make schools more defensible. That buys us the time we need so that help can arrive. At a minimum, we reinforce doorways, modify locks, and add shatterproof films to windows.

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

That won’t be enough because these murderous madmen change their plans to kill our kids. Madmen learned that classrooms are relatively secure. These murderers used the school fire alarms to move their victims into the hallways. Some schools are verifying that there is a fire before they evacuate the classroom. They might only evacuate one building rather than empty the entire school. All of those plans and practices save lives.

Do we have any known solutions? We know that emergency first aid saves lives. No one questions the utility of training school staff to treat the injured before EMTs arrive. The question remains if teachers can stop an armed murderer. Fortunately, this isn’t the “High Noon” gunfight they show in the movies and many of us imagine.

The teacher has an advantage when they defend their classroom. The teacher might have only a minute to prepare her classroom, but the murderer has to come through the doorway. That minute of preparation, maybe only a few seconds, is enough. The door is locked and bolted. The desks are pushed up around the classroom entrance. The teacher is inside the classroom with her students behind her.

The classroom isn’t a castle, and a murderer can certainly get in given enough time and effort. What the murderer cannot do is enter into the classroom quickly. The teacher knows exactly where the intruder will be. If she is armed, the teacher knows where she has to aim. The teacher will stop the murderer if he steps in front of her gun before help arrives. Now she can wait, and every second means that help is coming closer. Yes, a teacher who is armed with a handgun can even stop a murderer trying to enter her classroom with a rifle. The teacher has other advantages as well, but I’m not going to give away all her secrets.

The defender’s advantage is well known. SWAT teams often have to advance into a building where they face an armed criminal. These trained and armored officers hate going through doorways..and for good reason. They call the doorway “the fatal funnel”, and they expect to be s shot as they enter. Now, the armed teacher has that same defensive advantage, and the attacker faces that same disadvantage as they advance through the fatal funnel.

The public policy decisions are simple. We know training in trauma care saves lives. We know that some teachers will barricade in their classrooms. We know that other teachers will grab their medical kit, enter the hallway, and lock their classroom door behind them. They will look for the killer and try to stop him. That is what we’ve seen time and again when murderous madmen attacked our schools. The question we face is simple.

Would you rather the murderer shoot students or engage a defender? Do we want that defender armed or empty-handed?

About Rob MorseSlow Facts

The original article is here.  Rob Morse writes about gun rights at Ammoland, at Clash Daily, and on his SlowFacts blog. He hosts the Self Defense Gun Stories Podcast and co-hosts the Polite Society Podcast. Rob is an NRA pistol instructor and combat handgun competitor.

  • 27 thoughts on “Can Teachers Protect Our Students?

    1. Arm EVERY teacher, custodian, office person, principal, etc. that will not carry a regular firearm, with a POLICE GRADE taser pistol ! Non lethal so the lib, snowflake, Dem teachers have less to whine about, wouldn’t want them to kill a MURDERER, oh my god…. That would be PUNISHMENT for a crime, and we can’t do that !!!! Training for the laser and carrying would be MANDATORY on school property ! A perp would think twice knowing ALL school personnel are carrying “something”… Tasering would allow the criminal to do his “time out” and be released to do it again as the snowflake, libs, Dems want. The actual firearm carrying teachers could deal out the punishment the perp SHOULD receive.

    2. To the many teachers that say that they protect their students even when they are not armed with a weapon,,,I say BS. You ONLY protect the students by taking the first bullet and as if happens,,,the last bullet that the perp has.

      1. @EW, Yep, teachers can not even protect their students from bullies. In High-school, teachers can not even protect themselves from bullies. Maybe, the concepts of public education and unified (grouped up) schools (of fish) are no longer useful. All the smart parents are sending their kids to Catholic schools, Charter schools, and home schooling.

        1. Just came to check in on you Wild Bill. Still talking through your hat I see. let’s get rid of public education…you know how crazy you sound? You’re not doing gun owners any favours. give away your keyboard commando ways, WB. the echo chamber has damaged your faculties.

          1. @OV or could be xx (aka teen snot) certainly has the same M.O., same inability to punctuate, same vitriol, and same… boring… ahhh… (snoring sounds emanate)…

    3. 1. A teacher has the God given right to defend themselves. Government be damned.
      2. Combat medical training, carrying a tourniquet, a prerequisite for everybody – including students.

      1. our society is truly sick when all students must undertake combat medical training.
        how about we do something about gun violence in schools and gun obsession in general. Like tackle the problem, rather than apply bandaids.

    4. A lot of advice comes from people who never spent a day in a classroom. If I were still teaching in today’s environment I would arm myself to protect me and my students. I am a good shot and not easily unnerved. I taught on a large campus of almost 3000 students. Many of the teachers including an administrator were former military. Many others would have been more than willing to be trained. Sometimes I cringe at the remarks I read about teachers when I saw them as highly educated and dedicated hard working people. Parents often have shewed picture of teachers because students whine about their work assignments. Before you take the teacher to task go sit in some classrooms and see how things really work. I could tell stories about how teachers step in the middle of a fight to keep some kid from being injured. Or stopping a fight where five kids were ganging up on one. Never a thought about their personal safety. Enough said. Hoorah for dedicated teachers.

      1. @ bud
        Hoorah is right
        I have a Sister ,Nephew and Niece
        who are teachers . I respect their work
        and dedication to their Kids. 2 of them
        would step in front of a gun for the kids .
        The other ? Not so sure !

    5. Teachers are there to teach our children. The school administration is there to manage all school functions, to include protecting our children. Some teachers will want to willingly protect our children and we should allow them the means to do so through approved concealed carry. However, it is the school administration that is ultimately responsible for protecting our children. If your school board is not doing what is required to protect our children then vote them out.

    6. I taught school for 35 years. My students received instructions what we would do in the event of such an emergency. Waiting for an administrator to give me instructions was not an option. Whatever we had, we would use. I handpicked the students I thought had the best potential to help me save the rest of the class. Still, there are no guarantees, even with military training, that someone can do what needs done. Either a person can or they can not. You can not train that special ability. These stupid teachers that think they would be forced to carry really expose make you question if they should be teaching at all. Glad I am retired now.

    7. Let the teachers chpose their 2nd amendment,the last Stand. Of course,still maintain armed security and cams hot lines,etc.
      As for the protesters, give them all draft notices.

    8. Highly Unlikely that Armed Teachers ,
      Would Do What is Needed to be Done !
      KILL a STUDENT ! (shooting people )
      If They Had Prior Military , Maybe !
      But They Didn’t Sign Up for it . Trained
      Guards Who Sign Up to Put Their Life on
      the Line is the Only Way to Go . Even Then
      it’s Not 100%. People are Just That People !
      Till it Actually Happens ,You Can’t be Sure If ,
      and How Someone Will React to Gunfire Coming
      at Them or Near Them . Even With the Best Training
      Someone Might Just Shut Down or Run,Curl-up in ball .

      1. There is a family story about a grandmother, a peaceful, quiet woman Her very young children were playing in the sandbox when she saw a snake in their midst. Acting quickly and decisively she grabbed a toy (metal) fire engine and beat the snake to death. She didn’t believe in hunting or violence but confronted with that threat to her children she acted. I am certain that Teachers that are peaceful and nonviolent would act similarly if given the opportunity to be reasonably trained in firearm handling and carried it in a classroom. Your statements inadvertently or deliberately do great disrespect to Teachers.

      2. You absolutely have no idea what gou are talking about. You are making gross generalizations based on the one or two snowflakes you associate with. I k ow many teachers in my area. Most of them, especially the o es already trained as a medical first responder, handle themselves exceptionally well in an emergency. They do what has to be done no matter how difficult or unpleasant. You seem to be another of those “only ones” advocates.

      3. @MDV, Some of what you say may be true, but if you review the reports where schools have been attacked by active shooters, you will find evidence of where educators actually died attempting to save their students, –putting their bodies between the shooter and the students. If those same educators had been armed, maybe they and their students would still be alive and unharmed. Not all, but most educators will go beyond the normal limits to act in the best interest of their students.

        1. @ Don L Bailey
          Don Like I said to JDL TRAINED !
          And yes Maybe some will . But human nature
          has you cover your own @ss First .

          I think you were my Neighbor .13751

          1. Hey, who said to just hand them a gun next Monday? Quit the negative whine and actually read what is written instead of harping on your inner fears. Not everyone can, but no whiner ever did!

          2. @MDV, I’ve held a license to carry a firearm for well over twenty years and the initial training and renewal training, along with training at the range for handguns, rifles, and shotguns has always been extensive. In addition, the tactical training I’ve experienced during that time was also challenging, if not stressful. We talk about arming school campus staff, but very few have any idea about how to design a curriculum to meet stringent guidelines for this type of need. Just about every community and each school campus is unique with specific needs which means the security design for each will be complex. Finding and training the right people in each campus is just part of the problem and design. By the way, I do not remember having a neighbor that meets your description. We will have to figure that out.

    9. As the government does not have a duty to protect We The People why should teachers be held to a higher standard particularly as they are for the most part unarmed.

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