(KING) Washington’s Toppenish School District on the Yakima Reservation has been allowing educators to carry concealed firearms on campus since 2014.
The idea came after the Sandy Hook shooting, as Superintendent John Cerna watched the coverage on TV and wanted to keep his kids safe.
From there he floated the idea to other administrators of arming some personnel, an idea the administrators thought was crazy, then he went to the school board where he found a much more receptive audience, so he reached out to a former Washington State Patrol trooper turned trainer.
“It’s fairly easy. You can teach people how to shoot a gun. It’s hard to teach people when not to shoot a gun,” said Jon Ladines a security consultant with training experience across the country and into Central America.
His plan for Toppenish, and a handful of other districts since then, is a multi-faceted approach called gap training. In the event of an armed attacker at school, the idea is to buy time until police arrive and take over.
“I’m not a cop. That’s not my job. That’s not my training. But I’m also not ignorant, and the world has changed, which means education has to evolve with it,” said Toppenish High School Principal Shawn Meyers.
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