“As state legislators continue to shoot down bills that would give carte blanche approval for Colorado teachers and other staff to carry concealed guns on school grounds, training is gaining momentum for school districts that have taken matters into their own hands.
Laura Carno, co-founder of Coloradans for Civil Liberties, said she’s talked to about 60 school employees from around the state interested in the first advanced training course her organization is providing in a few weeks at a Weld County Sheriff’s Office facility north of Denver.
“People want a fighting chance,” she said. “One person is killed every 17 seconds in mass shootings. Even if you have a school resource officer in one hallway, if this happens in another hallway, how many 17 seconds is OK?”
Carrying concealed weapons on public school property is not allowed under Colorado law, except by designated security officers. Bills to change the state law have repeatedly been defeated.
But some school districts have enabled teachers and other personnel who are not normally security officers to be trained and assume the role.
The movement started after a gunman killed 20 students and six employees in December 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
Of the state’s 178 public school districts, “dozens” now have armed staff, Carno said.”
“There are many more schools with armed staff than we thought. I’m hearing from another dozen that are contemplating it,” she said, adding that “95 percent don’t make it public.”
The only known district to do so in the Pikes Peak region is Hanover School District 28, southeast of Colorado Springs. The five-member board approved arming staff last December, on a hotly debated 3-2 vote.
The decision was made on the fourth anniversary of the attack on Sandy Hook. A survey showed that students, parents, staff and community members were split almost evenly, with half in support of the idea and half in opposition.