DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – STEM School Highlands Ranch was the scene of a school shooting in May that took student Kendrick Castillo’s life. It was a horrible tragedy that Douglas County never wants to see happen again. Now nearby Ascent Classical Academy is allowing its teachers and staff to carry concealed handguns. Derec Shuler is the executive director there.

ascent classical academy DOUGCO ARMED TEACHER

STEM School shooting in May of 2019 (credit: CBS)

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“I do think having all options on the table allow us to better protect our community,” he told CBS4’s Rick Sallinger.

ascent classical academy DOUGCO ARMED TEACHER

(credit: CBS)

The charter school is home to 500 students in kindergarten through 11th grade.

“It gives a level of comfort to my family just knowing as parents that there is something there that can protect my kids. There is an option,” said parent Jessica Eban, who has four children who attend the school.

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ascent classical academy DOUGCO ARMED TEACHER

Jessica Eban (credit: CBS)

Firing range and safety training has been given to those faculty and staff members who are being allowed to carry guns. But it hasn’t gone down well with the Douglas County School District. It supports having armed trained security guards, but not others. As a result, Ascent Classical Academy may split with the district and seek certification through a statewide program.

ascent classical academy DOUGCO ARMED TEACHER

(credit: CBS)

“Just remember at STEM it was the defenseless children throwing themselves at a killer coming into the classrooms,” Shuler said.

Also, at STEM, an armed security guard shot and injured a student by mistake.

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The Douglas County School Board was set to take up the matter on Tuesday night.

Rick Sallinger