The Protecting Our Students & Teachers (POST) program offers a plan to mitigate the active shooter threat in schools. POST is based on the highly successful commercial airline “armed pilot” program and has widespread law enforcement support, including the sheriffs in Boone, Kenton, Campbell and Grant counties.
Recently I had the privilege to interview the creator of the POST program, Joe Kalil. Joe served in the U.S. Army for 10 years before being honorably discharged in 1997. He currently works for a major airline as a pilot and fills a federal law enforcement/firearms instructor role. When terrorists attacked on 9-11 his interest and passion for quality self-defense training intensified. He worked to urge Congress to pass a law to allow airline pilots to defend their aircrafts from future hijackers.
Besides supporting self-defense courses for pilots, Joe also is a Certified NRA Instructor, KY CCDW Permit Instructor & Instructor Trainer, Ohio, Utah & Florida Concealed Carry Permit Instructor, Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor, “Master” classification in IDPA shooting sports and Range Safety Officer. Joe also volunteers for the Kentucky Coalition to Carry Concealed (KC3). Joe is also the father of two teenage daughters. I can’t think of a more qualified person that I would want training teachers and staff in my local school district to protect our children against the threat of violence or the threat of an active shooter? Can you?
The POST Program is a common sense, low-cost, and well-designed program created to directly address the threat posed by an active shooter in schools. The POST program is the most thorough in the country and incorporates multiple, overlapping systems of both prevention and response. The POST program is based on concepts that were developed for the National Armed Pilots Program (in existence for over 12 years) and incorporates lessons learned by law enforcement in more than ten years of study since Columbine. POST is a model program starting in the state of Kentucky, but you can adopt any part of the program anywhere in the country.
As Joe says, the reality is that the “No Gun” or “Gun Free Zone” sign on the front door of our schools is NOT working. THIS sign is on the doors of all schools. This sign tells gunman that nobody inside is capable of protecting themselves. Furthermore it does exactly the opposite – it informs active shooters that no one is capable of defending themselves. Schools can have all the lockdown procedures they want, but they fall short of successfully equipping those that are most likely to stop an attack with the best tools and knowledge – self-defense training and a gun.
Joe added, in the Newtown shooting the shooter actually went to the high school first, saw a cop car and then went to the elementary school and saw the sign “Gun Free School”. Kalil asked, “If your number one concern is to protect kids, why do you put this sign on the door?”
So you may be asking yourself – “Why will the POST program work?”.
The POST Program will work for three reasons:
- Deterrence – Joe believes a sign posted on the door stating, “This school participates in the POST Program – Teachers and staff are trained and armed,” as well as public knowledge of the program will most likely prevent the shooting from occurring in the first place. Recent active shooters are not looking for a fight, they are looking for victims.
- Immediate Armed Response – in the event of a shooting there would be multiple individuals on campus that can stop the threat. These individuals would be volunteers, scrutinized through screenings, interviews, background checks, and thorough training. They would be armed, but the handgun would be concealed and the identity of the participants would not be publicly known.
- Thoroughness of training – unlike most of the other programs available, POST requires extensive training and regular recertification. We recognize this is a big commitment by those choosing to volunteer for post certification, but we think all can agree that when it comes to the safety of our children, the investment of time is worth it.
The POST program is very unique. It is the only program nationwide with a very detailed an intensely developed program for school staff. The program includes volunteers, interviews, background checks, drug tests, CCDW permit training, 1/2 day pre-course training, 5-10 days of training for POST, follow-up interviews, semi-annual firearms training and an annual refresher course.
The purpose of the half-day of training prior to the main 43-hour training is ensuring that the participants are prepared both mentally and in regards to equipment prior to the start of training. The training starts with safety and fundamentals, then builds up to precision shooting, shooting on the move, multiple target engagement, and shooting from cover.
Joe states, the firearms would be carried concealed on the person and students would NOT know who is armed.
The program would be public knowledge to establish a deterrent, however, the individual’s involvement would be “Sensitive Security Information” (SSI). The only people who would know who is participating in the POST Program would be the school’s staff, administration, SRO, and other armed participants. Dispatch would know how many participants are in each school so responding officers would be notified.
Ideally, the priority would be for front office administrators, staff, school nurses, and guidance counselors to participate since they will likely be the first to encounter the “active murderer.”
Since 2013, there have been 152 school shootings in America. You may be surprised to know there are several states (ie. Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Ohio, New Hampshire, Hawaii, Kansas, and Idaho,etc.) that offer programs that support concealed carry for teachers on school campuses. But none of these programs are as thorough or as detailed as POST.
So you may be asking, “How can I help?”
- Get educated on POST. Visit the website: http://postky.org/
- Share this information with other parents, colleagues and school board members in your local community.
- Attend a school board meeting and present information during an “open” public response time.
As Joe mentioned, when it comes to an “active shooter” TIME is the most critical factor. When seconds count, you want an “immediate armed response”. The question that is always asked too late …..”What could we have done to prevent a shooting?” The answer….POST.
Speaking of POST, ask yourself this, “Wouldn’t this be a more effective sign posted at your school?”.
How many shootings have to occur before people will stand up and do something? – Joe Kalil
Think: POST. IMMEDIATE – ARMED – RESPONSE! – Then take down the”no gun” sign. As Joe said, the shooters are not looking for a fight, they are looking for victims. Let’s STOP the insanity. Let’s support REAL solutions for teachers, staff and provide REAL safe schools for our children.
For more information or if you wish to contact POST click here.
Written by Nancy Hayes
Follow on Twitter: @bodybynance
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