GREELEY,Colo. -- Colorado law allows K-12 school staff to carry concealed firearms on school grounds, provided they are designated by their school or charter board as a school security officer.
On Tuesday, 17 faculty and administrators, who already have concealed carry permits, began an intense three-day training session to hone shooting skills, learn how to put a stop to an active shooter situation, and how to deal with the aftermath.
"It's about stopping the shooter and stopping the bleeding," said LauraCarno, ofColoradansfor Civil Liberties, the group that is raising scholarship money to pay for the training.
"Most school districts don't have training budgets for this," she said. "We are raising money to bring this to them for free."
The tuition is $1,000 per class member.
Carno said 24 faculty/staff members applied for scholarships, but there was only enough money for 17.
“There are 20 on the waiting list for the second class,” she said. “We are looking for help sponsoring them.”
Ronnie Wilson, president of the founding board of Liberty Tree Classical Academy, a proposed charter school in Falcon, is one of the educators taking part in the training.
"I get a lot of questions from parents and neighbors about our academics," he said, "and about what our school safety plan looks like."
Wilson toldDenver7that he's taking the class so he can better answer questions parents may have about staff carrying concealed weapons.
"I have no idea what their feelings personally would be,” he said, “but I do have a sense that 100 percent of parents want to insure, that if there were a threat to their child’s life, there would be an immediate response to that threat and that they would neutralize that threat.”
Dr. Paul Malaspina of Erie, Pennsylvania, said Coloradans know from experience, that in mass shootings, people can die while waiting for help to arrive. He said that was also the case at Sandy Hook.
He led the “Stop the Bleed” training Tuesday morning, teaching faculty and administrators the importance of dealing with major, life threatening hemorrhaging.
“They need to know how to use direct pressure, or how to apply tourniquets to stop the bleeding,” he said. “There is a distinct subset of people who bleed-out from their injuries, that died from bleeding, that need not have died if somebody was there that knew what to do immediately for them.”
Instructors from the Tactical Defense Institute in Ohio are conducting the class.
It’s called FASTER training, or Faculty / Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response, and was the brainchild of Buckeye Firearms Foundation and Tactical Defense Institute.
Over the past 5 years, more than 900 school staff members have been trained in how to stop active shooter situations and how to deal with related injuries, like gunshot wounds.
Not everyone taking the class wants it known they are doing so.
“Some schools don’t want it publicly known that their school is one of the ones that allows a person to ‘carry,’” Carno said. “It’s also for tactical reasons. If you’re a bad guy, you’re not going to go after someone who might shoot back. We don’t want them to know who might be armed.”
One of the Colorado trainers, Graham Dunn, said only people with a concealed carry permit can take the class.
“We want to make sure that their training is ‘dialed in,’” he said. “They’ll be taught marksmanship, reloads, clearing malfunctions, speed and distance.”
Dunn told Denver7 that the training is critical.
“It’s an awesome responsibility to carry a gun,” he said, “but it’s even more of an awesome responsibility to carry a gun within a school.”