An Inconvenient Truth: Armed Teachers Save Lives

FASTER life-saving training for teachers
Michelle Cerino for SNW

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee recently signed legislation allowing armed teachers and school staff in school buildings and campuses in the state. Ohio has had armed school staff for over ten years now. In March of 2013, I was one of the two dozen school staff members (out of 1200 applicants) attending the first Response to Active Shooter Training at Tactical Defense Institute (TDI) in Ohio.

The intense three-day, 24-hour training included having a defensive mindset, a history of active killers, firearms skills, trauma aid techniques and force-on-force scenarios. Since then, the course, a program called FASTER Saves Lives, has evolved.

FASTER life-saving training for teachers
Michelle Cerino for SNW

There is now an additional three hours of medical trauma care and five hours of a foundational firearms class included. I’ve been fortunate to be part of this program since the beginning and have met many of the staff that now have a tool they can use to stop an active killer and save their students.

I believe strongly that an armed person in a school building is the only way to stop a killer from murdering innocent children. Yes, it’s cliche, but the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is to have a good guy with a gun.

Some school districts out in the country may have up to a 40-minute wait for law enforcement to arrive. They know their only hope to stop an active killer is to take matters into their own hands. 

FASTER armed teacher training range
Michelle Cerino for SNW

Even if law enforcement is nearby, consider the following: 

When the shooting begins, someone must identify what’s happening. (No, it’s not someone lighting fireworks or hammering something on another floor.) Then that person has to call 911.

Dispatch answers, understands the situation and relays it to law enforcement. Police now make their way to the school.

Once there, they have to enter the building, search for the killer, then end the confrontation. How long could that take? How long would it seem like if you’re in the building hiding from the killer?

FASTER life-saving training for teachers
Michelle Cerino for SNW

It’s now a well-established fact that a faster response in active killer situations results in fewer lives lost. Carrying a firearm in a school isn’t for everyone. Candidates must have the proper mindset and shooting skills.

The purpose of having armed staff isn’t to replace police or EMTs, but to have on-site personnel who have been trained and have the tools they need to stop active killers as quickly has possible and render medical aid immediately.

Find more information about the FASTER program at

2 Responses

  1. In Missouri we have the DPS overseen School Protection Officer program. This program is 112 hours of initial training and our students must perform at the same level as police recruits in academy training to graduate.
    Here is what 30 years of data on this issue tell us:
    They will get in
    They will shoot on average one person every 10 seconds until the attack ends
    Most active shooter events are over in five minutes or less
    Most police response times are more than five minutes.

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