Should You Arm your staff?

In Tips by david@overwatching.com

Talk about a lightning rod issue right now….everyone wants to know if they should arm their staff and if we can teach them? Let me start by saying this is in no way a complete opinion. This is a short blog post on a recent question we are getting up to 5 times a day.

The question of arming staff comes down to mindset and preparedness more than anything. If you had a staff of former Special Forces with up to date handgun skills I would be all for it. However in the real world most of the teachers we run across are fantastic educators, but have not had formal arms training. Please take it from someone who has personally used firearms in the service of our country, there is a lot more than just pulling a trigger.

Hopefully before you even think about owning a pistol you know the four basic rules of firearms safety: All guns are always loaded, never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy, keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target, be sure of your target and what is beyond it. It’s the last one that causes us the greatest concern in a school setting. In firing into a crowd you may hit multiple people, even if you do hit your intended target. Add to that the chances of hitting a single moving target, under stress, and you can see how a teacher could end up doing as much or more damage than the threat.

We want people to run first. Get out of the line of fire and get out of danger. If you can’t run we want you to hide. Barricade that door and get under a desk, or use that closet no one knows about. Only if those two options are gone should you fight. If a gunman breaks down that door you have to be prepared to defend your life and that of those around you. In those rare cases a pistol will make the difference. If you are trained in it’s use, and understand its limitations and your own.

What concerns me is the idea that a teacher will hear gun shots, and run out to find the threat and engage it. If that teacher is correct, uses good tactics, has true aim and amazing luck they will be called a “hero.” If that teacher makes any one of a thousand mistakes, mistakes they didn’t train for, they will go to jail and have to live with the damage they caused. In the end only you can decide if your school system is ready for that liability.