In Colorado, U.S. teachers are being trained to carry guns in classrooms in order to protect students.
The scheme is said to have been motivated by the tragic Sandy Hook massacre in 2012, in which a rifle-wielding man killed 26 people at a primary school, and will see teachers undertake a three-day course – consisting of firearms and medical training.
Seventeen members of staff who “would like to be considered armed first responders” have so far taken part.
The new programme will allow volunteers to enter schools with guns under U.S. “concealed carry” laws.
So far, teachers have been taken to a shooting range in Weld Country, a location near Denver, Colorado, where they have been able to test their weapon abilities.
The course, provided by the Faculty Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response group (Faster), was set up by parents, law enforcement officers and medical experts who believe that U.S. schools are a “soft target” for violence. The group refers to schools as “victim zones”, the BBC says.
Faster’s aim, it says, is not to replace police or security services, but to “allow teachers, administrators, and other personnel to stop school violence rapidly” and to “administer medical aid where necessary”.
The move has brought fierce criticism from campaign groups such as Safe Campus Colorado, which has encouraged supporters to petition local authorities to help keep guns out of school.
The law will see selected school staff volunteering for training in “armed response” and “crisis management”.
When a school applies for its teachers to be trained, Faster provides the service for free.
Those who participate will attend an intensive three-day course with law enforcement personnel and will be tested both “physically and mentally”.
The course not only teaches how to use firearms effectively against any threat, but how to respond to injuries and provide medical assistance while awaiting emergency services.