In the wake of the Parkland, Florida massacre, President Trump has endorsed, among other things, allowing properly trained educators to carry concealed weapons at school.
One of the first school districts in the state of Colorado to implement such a policy was in eastern El Paso County in Hanover School District 28.
"We’re setting a new standard for safety." Today on the #education beat: 14 months after one of the first school districts in CO decided to arm their staff members with guns, I followed up with Hanover to see if it’s increased a feeling of safety. Full story at 10 on @KOAA pic.twitter.com/YrlCXjnyxX
— Lena Howland (@LenaHowland) February 23, 2018
A decision made in hopes of preventing another school shooting here at home and more than a year later, most people are grateful this was put into place.
"Our school’s pretty much a model for school safety," Terry Siewiyumptewa, a parent said.
14 months ago, the rural El Paso County school district made a big change.
"Our staff members, it could be 100 percent, are armed and are here to protect and keep our students safe," Dr. Grant Schmidt, Superintendent for Hanover School District 28 said.
Now, teachers, administrators, custodians and even bus drivers can all volunteer to conceal carry in school if they remain anonymous and go through quarterly training.
"We need safe schools and our school is providing us what we’ve asked for," Siewiyumptewa said.
Parent, Tammy Siewiyumptewa watched with the rest of the nation as 17 innocent students and staff just lost their lives in another school shooting and she believes it could have been prevented.
"The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun," she said.
The school board passed the policy because it would take law enforcement more than 30 minutes to respond to a call at Hanover Junior-Senior High School on the very rural, southern edge of El Paso County.
"I would feel safer because I know that there’s others that can do something other than one security guard that possibly couldn’t even be there at that time," Shane Siewiyumptewa, a junior at Hanover Junior-Senior High School said.
Students we spoke with say it has added an extra level of comfort.
"It’s kind of like more eyes to look out for stuff so it’s a better safety precaution," he said.
But some teachers argue, guns in schools are not the answer, using the hashtag #ArmMeWith across social media.
Sadly though, Superintendent Dr. Grant Schmidt says, this is the new reality.
"It’s definitely a sad state for our society across our country to say that we have to start talking about do we arm staff in our schools," Dr. Schmidt said. "But unfortunately, we do have to problem solve at this point in time in our society."
Dr. Schmidt says he’s been getting calls from other school districts across the country all year, wanting to know how they put this into place, asking for guidance, research and other documents to use as a model.