A proposal is under discussion in Florida that would allow teachers to carry a firearm into the classroom. This is a good thing.
The bad thing about it is that it seems the current thinking is to require teachers to spend 132 hours in training, or 16.5 days, in order to carry a firearm inside the school. Unfortunately, there’s some concern that’s not enough training.
A proposal to arm teachers, administrators and school staff in Florida causes widespread concern about the minimal firearms training they would get — 132 hours — less than that of basic police recruits.
Critics said the proposal, part of a measure designed to help protect schools from shooters that awaits Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s signature, could put students and staff at risk.
Curt Lavarello, executive director of the School Safety Advocacy Council and a former SRO in Broward County, Fla., where the Parkland shooting took place, said 132 hours is not nearly enough to entrust educators with guns.
“It’s absolutely ridiculous to think that in 132 hours of training, you’re going to be prepared to take on a well-armed gunman who comes onto a campus to kill children,” he said.
Richard Myers, executive director of the Major Cities Chiefs Association, which represents 75 big-city police forces in the USA and Canada, said he has discussed arming teachers with many of the group’s members. “I’ve yet to hear a police chief think that’s a good idea,” he said.
Myers said cops aren’t trained just to use firearms but to know when not to use them. “It’s not just about shooting holes in targets,” he said. “It’s about de-escalation. It’s about ‘Shoot, don’t shoot.’ “
One hundred and thirty-two hours isn’t enough to train teachers to carry a firearm? Look, I’m not in favor of a 132-hour training class either…because it’s ridiculous. It’s way longer than should be required. These aren’t police officers.
Of course, it seems that part of the problem is that Florida police officers have to have more training.
Basic police recruits must do more to carry a gun, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
They must complete an 80-hour course in defensive tactics and another 80 hours in firearms. They must show proficiency in 41 “defensive tactics” techniques and understand the legal application of the use of deadly force. They must know how to handle handguns, shotguns, rifles and semiautomatic weapons — and they must practice, among other skills, survival shooting techniques.
That’s interesting but irrelevant. Again, these aren’t police officers, and they’re not likely to be involved in the wide variety of circumstances a police officer is. They’re teachers who are willing to put their lives on the line as a last-ditch bit of protection for Florida’s kids.
It’s also worth noting that while Florida police officers may spend 160 hours training with their firearms prior to certification as law enforcement officers, that’s not the norm. In June of 2016, in the midst of anti-police propaganda flying everywhere, Vox noted that police spend 110 hours undergoing weapon training, but only eight on conflict management.
Vox had every reason to inflate the number. It would have helped them make their point even better. The fact that they didn’t is telling, especially now.
If the average police officer spends 110 hours learning how to handle a firearm, why on Earth is anyone considering requiring teachers to spend 132 hours? We’re not talking about these teachers forming up in stacks like a SWAT team prior to breaching the door in a hostage situation. We’re talking about them knowing how to pull out a firearm during a mass shooting and potentially taking down the killer.
Let’s not go overboard with the training here.