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Columbine survivor joins group fundraising to arm teachers

Posted at 6:55 PM, Jun 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-27 21:44:46-04

COMMERCE CITY – It comes down to muscle memory. In a gun fight, reflexes from proper training can be the key to survival. Law enforcement instructors at the Faculty Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response (FASTER) training are teaching teachers and other school professionals on how to properly handle a handgun during a stressful active shooter scenario.

Their step-by-step cover the most efficient ways to draw their weapon, aim, fire and reload. The goal is for trainees to not only survive, but also prevent accidents.

“I’m just excited to train with people who are experienced and yeah, so far it’s just excellent,” said Julie Park, a homeschool mother learned how to shoot following a home burglary six years ago.

“I’m also a part of co-ops and we have children all over the place and we have to make sure that we’re able to protect our children no matter what situation,” she said.

Park is one of 24 trainees participating in the 3 day course at the Flat Rock Training Center in Adams County. Her dedication to protecting children is shared by Sheena Mcouat, a principal at a soon to open charter school.

“Security is something that you have to talk about, and losing a child or being unprepared for a situation is absolutely not an option. And therefore I’m exploring every way to handle situations on my campus,” Mcouat said.

Around 150 people have already completed this training. The trainees also learn advanced first-aid techniques treat wounded victims by stopping the bleeding until paramedics can arrive.

Class size is limited. There are 12 men and 12 women enrolled this summer. Admission costs $1,000.

<figcaption class="wp-caption-text" id="caption-attachment-289382">Columbine survivor Evan Todd speaks to the trainees at the FASTER training in Commerce City.

“Everything changed that day, not just the world but my path,” said Columbine survivor Evan Todd.

He was 15 during the 1999 mass shooting and was hit by a shotgun blast while diving for cover behind the copy machine in the school library.

He told the trainees that many of the students killed in that attack were close friends. He wants to be a part of the solution to stop mass shootings and is doing that by supporting educators who are willing to take on the responsibility of learning to fight back.

“The sooner someone is there to stop a perpetrator from murdering, the more lives are saved and that’s a mission that we do promote,” Todd said.

He joined the non-profit group Angel Shield which makes scholarships available to teachers to attend FASTER training. They raise money by selling hats, shirts and other apparel under the Bullets Both Ways brand.

In Colorado, a teacher or staff member may carry a concealed handgun on campus as long as their respective school board or charter board designates them as a school security officer.