At Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., in 2012, the first 911 call was made after about five minutes, and the first officers arrived at the school less than four minutes later. Still, 20 children and six adults were killed. In Parkland, Fla., the gunman killed 17 people in just under six minutes.
Even in Uvalde, where the police have been criticized for waiting on site for more than an hour, the gunman is believed to have fired more than 100 rounds within the first three minutes, according to a state report.
“Time is all that matters,” Mr. Irvine said. “It’s that simple.”
Of the eight school employees being trained, Mandi was in some ways an anomaly. She was the only woman in the group. Several others were administrators — a superintendent, a principal — rather than teachers.
In other ways, she was typical.
Everyone had some comfort with guns. Mandi described hunting with her husband and shooting at a gun range on weekends. She said she had taken other firearms classes, including concealed carry training, one of the prerequisites to participate in FASTER.
Like others, she worked in a rural area, where carrying guns in schools is more common, in part because of longer response times by the police. One group in the training, from Oklahoma, estimated the response time in its area was at least 22 minutes.
“The last thing I want is for people to think we are just a bunch of gunslinging teachers who want an excuse to carry guns in schools,” said Mark, a middle-school teacher in Ohio who described measuring his school’s hallway to determine how far he needed to learn to shoot.