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.
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