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Douglas County parents discuss school safety options, including armed volunteers

Douglas County parents discuss school safety options, including armed volunteers
Douglas County parents discuss school safety options, including armed volunteers 01:58

An event organized by parents was targeted toward those who are concerned about school safety.

Douglas County parents met Tuesday night to discuss improving safety measures in schools, including one option that would have unidentified, armed volunteers on school property. 

FASTER Colorado, which helps school districts train and arm teachers, led Tuesday's meeting for parents interested in armed volunteers along with other safety measures. 

"I feel that [armed volunteers] is the ultimate and only solution," John Castillo said. "There are other solutions like technology that we can look at; however, school shootings, mass shootings, acts of domestic terror, they are a numbers game. And when I say that, I mean the second the gun comes out, activity is happening by the time that 911 call is being made. On average, 17 seconds is all it takes for people to start to die."

Castillo was among several speakers at the meeting and asked those opposed to the idea to keep an open mind. His son Kendrick was killed while charging the gunman in the 2019 STEM School shooting. 

While Castillo says it will take lawmakers to help implement some of his ideas, there are many people with conceal and carry permits who would volunteer to carry on school property. 

"We have facilities and maintenance people within schools, custodial people," Castillo said. "You have lunch ladies who are capable and would do it, lots of veterans, and I think that most people would be really surprised to see how many people actually would be armed in a school that are currently armed when they're not."

"We need people who are on site and ready," Castillo said. 

There are other safety measures on the table as well that include technology that allows staff to communicate the location of active threats to responders. Castillo would also like to see a third party audit of safety in schools. He says schools would be accredited for safety in the same way they are accredited for education. 

The point of contention of course is whether to make guns a part of the plan in Douglas County. 

FASTER Colorado has trained 37 (mostly rural) school districts and more than 300 school staff members to conceal and carry guns in schools. It is ultimately up to the district to approve such measures, which is where advocates in DougCo may run into a hurdle. 

Douglas County's new Superintendent, Erin Kane, stated clear opposition to the idea during her interview in March.

"I want to be clear; I am not in favor of arming teachers in Douglas County," Kane said. 

FASTER said the idea is a conversation and about more than arming teachers. It is not something the school board is currently considering.

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