Sandy Hook Promise Glamorizes School Shootings With New Back-To-School PSA

Sandy Hook Promise Glorifies Mass Shooters With New Back-To-School PSA

In a back-to-school PSA so disturbing you’d think it was made by the school shooters themselves, Sandy Hook Promise shows how the anti-gun community capitalizes off of fear and does not care about unintended consequences.  The TV ad was premiered Wednesday on the TODAY show.

The purported goal of the PSA video is to encourage people to learn the signs of would-be school shooters so they can help stop them before they start, a noble goal.  But digging deeper into their website, it is clear they are simply another anti-gun nonprofit as they parrot similar claims that have been called out by even NPR when citing the number of school shootings that happen each year, and they are pushing for dangerous Red Flag ERPO laws like was recently passed here in Colorado. Nowhere is it mentioned that Connecticut already HAD a Red Flag law in place when Sandy Hook happened.

The perverse video, which begins with students showing off their newest back to school essentials, quickly turns dark when a school shooting begins and suddenly those back to school essentials are used to defend and save lives by soon-to-be victims. It ends by simply telling viewers to visit the Sandy Hook Promise website, but undoubtedly triggers a deep and unnecessary fear in parents, teachers, and especially students.  I personally would never let my children watch it, and would be furious if they saw it elsewhere.

WATCH IT HERE

School shootings are unusual, horrifying and dramatic – which is exactly why they get so much media attention.  According to FactCheck.org there have been 64 deaths from school shootings between the Sandy Hook tragedy in December 2012 and the end of 2018. This includes not just mass school shootings, but “students who died after being shot on school grounds, during school hours or after, being shot on college campuses—or at student housing—where they were enrolled for classes.”

Students are 370 times more likely to die in a car accident travelling to or from school than they are to die by firearm at school.

In addition to the unnecessary and distressing emotion this video aims to evoke, I must question if it would have the opposite effect on a could-be-school shooter who will undoubtedly be the first to watch it over and over and over, enjoying every moment, fantasizing about what “could be”.  The video portrays exactly what drives certain students to commit such atrocious acts.  They get off on the fear instilled in their fellow classmates and teachers.  It depicts the emotion potential school shooters are wanting to elicit from their victims.  So does glorifying it in a $100,000+ production video do more harm than good?  What happened to “no notoriety”?

Evan Todd, a Columbine High School shooting survivor and spokesman for Bullets Both Ways, had this to say in response to the PSA video:

“Policies and security protocols that leave gaps in protection are not acceptable any longer. Ignorance nor apathy will protect our schools. There are ways to prevent and there are ways to defend. We should demand both.”

There are evidence based solutions that prevent and stop school shootings.  There are policies that fuel potential shooters while leaving our kids and teachers defenseless.  And then there is crap like this which serves to do nothing good.  It breeds unreasonable paranoia, re-traumatizes victims, and acts as school shooter porn.  It is completely irresponsible.

 

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Arming Teachers In Colorado: Everything You Need To Know

Arming Teachers In Colorado: Everything You Need To Know - Rally for our Rights

 

Since the recent remarks made by the Douglas County, CO School District Superintendent, Dr. Thomas Tucker, vowing to remove any school, even a charter school, from his district if they wanted armed school staff to be part of a security plan, the amount of misinformation I’ve seen about “armed teachers” has been astonishing. The idea that people like myself, who support school and community autonomy over school security, wants to see every teacher in every school “packin’ heat, gun slingin’ like the old west” is downright ridiculous.  Hell, some of the stuff I’ve heard you’d think we wanted to arm kids (we do not, trust me)!  So let’s look at the facts…

Colorado is one of dozens of states that legally allows individuals to carry a concealed firearm on school grounds during school hours with specific conditions.  The laws in each state vary to some degree.

Here is exactly what Colorado’s CRS 18-12-214 (3) (b) states: “A permittee who is employed or retained by contract by a school district or charter school as a school security officer may carry a concealed handgun onto the real property, or into any improvement erected thereon, of a public elementary, middle, junior high, or high school while the permittee is on duty;”

So, what does that mean?

It means that school district boards or charter school boards can authorize individual school staff members to conceal carry a firearm on school grounds, even if that person does not work for a security company.  When a decision is made to allow a school staff member to carry, the district will contract with the employee to add the “school security officer” designation to their primary job duties.

Do these staff members have to be insured? Are there training requirements?

In most cases when a staff member is designated on their contract to be a school security officer, a “rider” is added to their insurance.  This insurance rider requires 24 hours of firearm training over the past year, four hours of classroom instruction on firearms safety and use of deadly force, 14 hours of live fire range training exercises, six hours of school active shooter training, and the shooting range test police officers need to pass, among some other things.

Where do they receive the training? 

As more schools are looking into this option, almost all are working with FASTER Colorado.  FASTER stands for Faculty/Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response.  They are dedicated to training school staff with an all of the above approach.  Their training goes far beyond what insurance requires, adding in a trauma class and a psychological portion.  The trauma skills ensure they’re equipped to not only stop a shooting, but save lives as well.  In some of the most tragic school shootings, it is apparent had someone in the school been equipped to stop the bleed, the fatality rate would have dropped – often times substantially.  The psychological portion discusses how to interact with a school shooter and asks the question “Can you handle what you may one day have to do?” To graduate from the FASTER training, tactical skills must exceed that of law enforcement.  You can watch a 90 minute FASTER presentation here.

Who knows which staff members are armed?

This is entirely up to the school district, but in most cases it is only a select few within the school and local law enforcement.  It is critical armed staff works with local law enforcement to develop a strong communication plan should an active shooter situation occur.

Won’t kids get a hold of the guns?

Part of the training is deep concealment techniques.  This means authorized staff does not simply carry a handgun holstered to their hip or in a conceal carry purse.  It means they have learned and practiced using concealment techniques that are “on-body” 100% of the time, and invisible to even a trained eye.

Isn’t this expensive to the schools?

The insurance rider does increase cost, but it is only a fraction compared to the expense of hiring a SRO or private security.  In addition, there are private grant programs available to schools who cannot afford it.  The FASTER Colorado training is offered at low or no cost when needed.

Are any schools in Colorado already doing this? 

Yes, over 30 school districts in Colorado have authorized personnel.  Many of these districts are rural.  For example, Hanover, a small community southeast of Colorado Springs has authorized staff because in the case of a school shooting, it would take at minimum 30 minutes for law enforcement to arrive.  But more suburban schools are also adding this as part of their security plan.  It is a decision that should be made by parents, teachers, and community members.  It may not be for every school, but for many it’s a great fit and requested by parents.

Many teachers say they don’t want this responsibility.  Will they be forced to carry a firearm if their district does this?

Absolutely not. This is 100% volunteer. No one is forced to do it, and no school is either.  But it’s also important to remember some staff members DO want this responsibility, many of them individuals who already conceal carry on a daily basis outside their regular job and train on their own time as a hobby.  We have seen again and again a teacher, or a coach, die while trying to protect their students with their body. That same individual could save not only their life, but the lives of others, if they are given a fighting chance.

Teachers need to focus on students, not security.  Wouldn’t this affect student education?

First, “school staff” does not mean “teachers”.  It means janitors, cafeteria workers, school counselors, coaches, and/or teachers, etc.  Admin makes up a large contingent of staff.  Many of them are volunteering to take on this role.

Second, there is nothing as distracting as a school shooting.  It leaves life long trauma.  Children don’t survive.  Their safety should be a #1 priority.

Final thoughts…

I’m a single mother of three.  One of my biggest fears is that my children will be in class when a depraved student chooses to create a Columbine copycat – but what I fear even more is that there will be no one there to protect them.  There is no one-size-fits all security plan.  It’s important that school boards and superintendents listen to what parents and the community want.  As parents, we have every right to be critical of our schools and to ask they do a better job protecting our students.  If you want your child’s school to consider allowing well trained and authorized armed staff, the best place to start is the school board.  Email them.  Call them.  Attend their meetings.  Find out where they stand.  And if you need direction, contact us.

You can help Rally for our Rights continue to be at the forefront of defending gun rights while advocating for a safer society by making a contribution today.  Your support is greatly appreciated.  DONATE HERE.

CO School District Threatens To Shut Down Charter School That Allows Armed Staff

Douglas County CO School District Threatens To Shut Down Charter School That Allows Armed Staff : Rally For Our Rights

In Colorado it is legal for public schools and public charter schools to have armed staff if the school board (or in the case of charters schools, the charter board) authorizes the specific individuals.  More than 30 districts in the state already have some form of armed staff.  Reference: CRS 18-12-214 (3) (b).

Douglas County School District in Colorado has 91 schools under their control with ONE school, Ascent Classical Academy – a charter – who is implementing a new security plan this year that includes some staff members being legally authorized to carry. These authorized individuals are volunteers who went through the extensive teacher training program called FASTER Colorado.  FASTER not only teaches tactical techniques, but also has a focus on psychological and trauma skills as well.  For a teacher to graduate from the training program, their tactical skills must exceed that of law enforcement.

Last week during the second “Interim School Safety Committee” hearing at the Colorado State Capitol (a committee put together after the tragic STEM School Shooting at a charter school in Douglas County last May), district superintendent Dr. Thomas Tucker emphatically stated that no schools in HIS district were allowed to have armed staff, that it was a violation of district policy, and if any of them tried to do it, they’d be asked to leave the district.  This included charter schools.

Watch the video here for the complete exchange:

The superintendent’s position has nothing to do with safety, and everything to do with anti-gun ideology.  Under state statute, charter schools have autonomy over their security plans. Reference: CRS 22-32-109-1 (2).  Ascent Classical Academy has a contract with the school district that allows them to implement their new security plan, and they also have a waiver from the district policy GBEB, which talks about armed staff.  In December 2018, the newest anti-gun school board adopted a new policy ADD, that fundamentally changed the previous policy from a mere statement to a directive. They took restrictive language on armed staff from policy GBEB and inserted it into this new ADD – which NO ONE has a waiver from since it wasn’t even applicable to anyone until it was suddenly created last December.  This was an underhanded move to prevent Ascent Classical Academy from implementing their new security policy, even though that policy was developed at the request of parents and teachers of that particular school which does not have the funds to hire a full time SRO.

Ascent Classical Academy is negotiating a transfer to the state charter oversight board but are they insisting the local tax funding the Douglas County kids currently receive continues to support their education – and rightfully so.  The Douglas County school district has been resistant to allow ANY funds to continue to support the school and has even threatened to shut it down if the school will not comply with their new terms.

Parents and community members can attend the Douglas County school board meetings, as well as contact board members and the superintendent here.

They can also voice their concerns to the Interim School Safety Committee by clicking here.

And they can attend the next School Safety Committee hearing on Sept 20th at 9am in the Old State Library of the Colorado State Capitol in Denver, CO.

Help Rally for our Rights continue to attend and document these legislative hearings and bring the information to light!  CLICK HERE TO MAKE A DONATION.