POST (Protecting Our Students and Teachers) is a program designed to mitigate active shooter threats in schools by arming employees, and is based on the commercial airline armed-pilot program, according to the group's website.
During a March meeting, Madison County resident Shane Morris addressed the Berea City Council about bringing POST to county schools.
It would allow, on a volunteer basis, school-system staff to possess a concealed carry license and be armed, according to Morris.
The proposed program on PostKy.org, which is subject to a school board’s modification, notes:
• Participants are employee volunteers. The goal is 5 percent participation or one in 20 school employees.
• Volunteers must possess concealed carry permits and go through an application process, interview and background check.
• They must also attend a half day pre-course and complete the five-day POST training course.
• Volunteers must acquire a semi-annual firearms qualification and attend an annual one-day refresher course.
“I firmly believe we are in the last days of a hope for the best model of school protection,” Morris told The Register Thursday. “People have been shaken awake."
The former soldier and high school teacher noted that while money transportation is heavily guarded, America allows its most precious commodity, its children, to be sitting ducks within schools.
Morris’ argument against the present school safety model is that it places responsibility on one uniformed resource officer, whom he says would be the target of a trained killer. It also requires waiting for police response, which he adds could take between five to 15 minutes.
The most effective model, he says, it to allow a well-trained staff be the real first-responders to the scene. All would be carrying concealed leaving the criminals not knowing who could “take them down.”
“We need to make schools like landmines for bad guys,” Morris added, noting the fear of landmines comes from not knowing where or how many there are.
P.O.S.T. founder Joe Kalil, a former army pilot now flying commercial, was one of the first trained for the armed pilots program following Sept. 11, as well as one of the group's firearms instructors.
Borrowing inspiration from the armed pilot program, Kalil created POST, which he says has been vetted by sheriffs in Boone, Kenton and Grant counties. Additionally, 16 other states have similar programs, though POST is more thorough regarding training.
To implement POST, Kalil says the program would need to be approved by a local school board, which could tailor the program to the school system's needs. The best people to conduct the training, he says, would be law enforcement; allowing officers to get to know POST participants, gives credibility to the program and adds liability protection.
What makes POST superior to other models is that is simply focuses on ending active shooter situations as quickly as possible, something that can only be accomplished by school resource officers and POST participants, according to Kalil. Other measures, such as locked doors, buzzing people into a vestibule and using cameras, he says, fall short.
Additionally, by having POST volunteers, Kalil notes protection would be available to the school at all times and support provided to school resources officers while they are taking lunch, having a day off or making visits to homes or other schools.
Factors that will make POST a success, according to its founder, are threefold. It would deter would-be assailants, provide an immediate armed response to a crisis and fill the schools with thoroughly trained individuals.
Morris would like local city councils to pass a resolution, as he said was introduced into the state house and senate, that KRS does not have to be changed for schools to arm select personnel. Morris says he has contacted Madison County school officials regarding his POST proposal.
More information on POST can be found at PostKy.org.
Reach Critley King at 624-6623; follow her on Twitter @critleyking.