Springtime in the Rockies brings a change of the seasons, the promise warm months ahead, and sadly, the anniversaries of some of the most prominent school shootings in Colorado.
Although some in Colorado equate 4/20 with marijuana, many of us will always think of April 20, 1999 as the anniversary of the Columbine massacre. Twelve students and one teacher lost their lives that day, in the mass murder that put school shootings on the map.
Also, May 7 will be the 3rd anniversary of the STEM School shooting, which resulted in the death of one brave young man: Kendrick Castillo. Kendrick gave his life to save his friends, when he lunged at one of the killers, giving his classmates the opportunity to disarm him.
Columbine survivor Evan Todd has been active for the past two decades talking about what happened, has dispelled myths about some of the reporting, and has actively support more aggressive school safety techniques —including armed school staff.
Evan recently appeared on the podcast The Spillover telling his story.
With all the discussion in the news about the curriculum in our children’s schools, let’s not forget to keep tabs on their safety. In the words of John Castillo, Kendrick’s father, “It doesn’t matter what the curriculum is, if your child doesn’t come home alive.” Kendrick was John and Maria’s only child.
Both Evan Todd and John Castillo attend FASTER Colorado classes, where we train armed school staff members in Colorado. Full disclosure: FASTER Colorado is a project of Independence Institute, and I am its Executive Director. In our sixth training year, I continue to spend much of my time raising scholarship money for schools that can’t afford the tuition to the training classes.
Not only do Evan and John attend FASTER classes to talk to the class members —few know more about what these armed school staff members are signing up for than these two men— both of them actually went through the class as full participants, in order to understand the quality and rigor of the training. They both support the policy of armed staff as a way to make schools as safe as they can possibly be. They both also support our efforts at FASTER Colorado. We are grateful for both of their support.
We are also honored that John and Maria Castillo have chosen FASTER Colorado as their charity this year to receive donations to help with those scholarships.
On May 14th, Max Taps Brewery in Centennial and Highlands Ranch will be doing an tap of Kendrick’s Ale, starting at noon, and lasting until they close at 11pm.
The Castillos have been organizing the brewing of Kendrick’s Ale, named in honor of their brave son, since the STEM shooting happened, and each year 100% of proceeds go to a charity of their choice. We are honored that John and Maria have chosen FASTER this year as the recipient.
As Max Taps describes it, “Kendrick’s Ale is a Hefeweizen brewed with orange peel and Colorado honey, showcasing notes of citrus and sweetness alongside the flavors of banana and clove this beer style is known for.
Also, on May 7, Strange Craft Beer Company will also be tapping and selling Kendrick’s Ale, and donating a proceeds to FASTER Colorado.
If beer isn’t your speed, check out Tongue Tied Designs, as they are donating a portion of t-shirt sale proceeds.
We are so grateful to the Castillos for their support of armed school staff programs, and for their designation of FASTER Colorado as their charity this year. Please plan to attend the May 7 event, or one of the May 14 events. If you can’t make either of those dates, please throw some business to Max Taps or Strange Craft at another time, or buy something from Tongue Tied Designs, to thank them for their support of the heroism of Kendrick Castillo.
Laura Carno is executive director of FASTER Colorado.
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