After Newtown, School-Shooter Training for Teachers

After the shootings in Newtown, Conn., attendance soars at an active-shooter simulation in Alabama

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As schools across the country review their lockdown procedures, more than 100 teachers and administrators in Alabama took crisis-management preparation a step further by participating in an active school-shooter training session in Jefferson County. During the Jan. 2 simulations, nearly a dozen administrators donned protective gear and played the role of law-enforcement officials while teachers tried to follow the standard safety procedures amid the sound of gunfire and heart-pounding adrenaline.

The purpose of these sessions, which involved paint pellets, wasn’t to train administrators in how to take down shooters, Jefferson County chief deputy Randy Christian said in an e-mail. “They were allowed to take on the role of law enforcement so they could understand the need to relay accurate and timely information to first responders.”

To help relay that information, Jason Wilson, principal of the Jefferson County school where the training session was held, urged attendees to keep a backpack in every classroom and stock it with a flash drive that contains overhead maps of the school (as well as hard copies), a first-aid kit, flashlight and paper and tape to cover windows. “Teachers don’t think tactically,” said Wilson, who is also a member of the Alabama Association of School Resource Officers. But after the shooter simulations, he said, they started talking about what else would be good to have in their backpacks or bailout bags, such as a blanket to help keep students calm.

The active-shooter training session, which has been offered to school administrators in Alabama for several years, was the first to incorporate large numbers of teachers, most of whom signed up to attend after the shootings in December in Newtown, Conn. Wilson said interest post-Newtown has been so high that he is already planning additional sessions.

He also said he hopes to find the funding, possibly through a grant, to give every school administrator in the county a bulletproof vest. He keeps his in his backpack.

(More: Newtown Copes After Sandy Hook Elementary School Shootings)

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140 comments
granitesentry
granitesentry

OK, it's an overreaction, considering the actual statistics involved. But it's better than the craven surrender that is the Left's default response to any aggression.

graberc
graberc

What were there, 40 gun related homicides in 2012 out of 40 million students.  Suicide for children (under 19) is about 1,600 a year.  Driving? 6k


Everytime you train to protect from a 1 in a million event you are wasting time/resources that could be spent, I dunno, getting seatbelts for your school busses or something likely to actually help someone.

john.dawes
john.dawes

Uhh, OK what's next ?  Every sports coach should be armed.  And every cinema attendant perhaps, too.  The answer is not more guns but fewer guns.  Look at the rates of gun homicide in other countries for heaven's sakes. You people are being suckered big time.

and for this amazing arming-teacher plan -- what if the teacher is on a field trip ?  oh, right - arm a backup.  And so it goes.  Until the NRA gets is way - everyone carries a gun, all the time.  Best of luck guys. 

loucal
loucal

The last two classes I took were called Pressure Point Control Tactic/Disruptive Student Management and PPCT Spontaneouse Knife Defense.  My school paid for neither and when I approached the National Education Association to ask for their support, I was ignored.  Teachers are the first responders to fights, assaults, and invasions and our schools are slow to respond to problems.  I was involved in over 500 violent incidents in my 35 year career and I  am happy I left without getting seriously hurt.  Schools need Student Resource officers with long rifles on site and teachers trained as I was to manage the violence before things get out of hand.

ChristopherJohnBookkeeping
ChristopherJohnBookkeeping

Great now if an unstable substitute or regular teacher gets ticked off at their students they can just blow them away, brilliant, answer one incident with thousands of potential incidents.

Communist47
Communist47

There are 2 basic factors heres and is simple as it gets; something you have control over and something you don't.  Stopping an insane person to act up is not within your control.  However, what is within your control is to prepare and do what you can to protect yourself.   If countries use guns and weapons to defend invaders and threats, and if police and law enforcement use guns and weapons to protect society and communities, the validity of gun use as the most effective choice is self-evidence.   You will be a fool if you believe otherwise because police and military are NOT using "freedom of speech" to talk the out-laws and invaders, and threats;  they use guns.  Case closed.  That is why gun sale has been skyrocketed.  The longer the liberals procrastinate about buying guns, the more likely there will be another shooting to take place because guns also serve as the most effective deterrence. 

ColoradoPhil
ColoradoPhil

At this point even CNN has declared gun-control to be a dead issue, so really at this point it is just political posturing, can't we move on? None of the bills proposed at this point would, had they been implemented a year ago, have stopped this tragedy. Doesn't common sense suggest that the response should have some correlation to correcting the problem??? In Colorado the Denver Post had a very good article about how much the mental health support system has been laid waste by budget cuts. Fixing this problem would have had a very high probability of stopping Lanza, why is there little, if any, talk of this type of solution???

BetMat65
BetMat65

I would not mind a sane trained armed guard standing by the ONLY way of entry during school hours. It would make me feel a thousand times better about sending my kid to school. To pass this person get patted down or walk through a metal detector. One person attempts bringing a shoe bomb onto a flight now the whole world has to take their shoes of...... Why should we NOT take what actually did happened here seriously it was not just an attempt. Armed guards, metal detector..... Nothing less. I pay my taxes this is what I want my money to go towards protect the kids and the teachers....... So there. Don't send my money to protect other country's whom the self are fighting each other protect my country with my money I.e ARMED guards at every school and metal detector..... That's the very very least we can do for our Country. Keep our kids safe......

MickeyCashen
MickeyCashen

I've owned a gun since age 12 and spent a career as a teacher, but I agree teachers with guns in school is ridiculous.  Notice NO ONE is advocating paying teachers MORE for coming to work with that extra skill.  Teachers now have to -by law in most states- scan students for signs of physical abuse, track their volunteer work -and often arrange it- in states requiring such work to graduate, prepare materials and organize homeroom classes that discuss right and wrong behavior, etc. etc. besides teaching.  These add hours of extra work per week on top of the fact they do NOT get paid to chaperone dances, football games, graduations, etc.  But so many want to take their pensions!

tanbob
tanbob

American government is going to be crazy. To keep the gun with teachers in shcools is the best way to protect students? if one of studenst take the pistol from the backpack and fire guns to his students? They need to consider more carefully to protect students. To keep the gurn in the school makes other incidnets for your schools

lancelotpa
lancelotpa

Did any of you people actually read the story and what was ACTUALLY going on?  Good grief!  This is one of the many reasons we have the problems we do.  A bunch of loudmouths that just spout nonsense.  Get the facts, they get upset.

Nowhere in this exercise was there weapons training or any effort to arm teachers.  They were helping the teachers to prepare and be able to handle themselves and student in the case of a shooter.

We used to do drills all the time in school for earthquakes and whatnot.

gerrytheteacher
gerrytheteacher

I am an educator, not a member of the SWAT team. What's next? Teachers with semi-automatics? I used to bemoan the fact that teachers were the only profession whose clients are required to be 100% perfect. Imagine if doctors' salaries were tied to the health of their patients and their starting salary was $35,000? I will retire in about 5 years, long before this gun business will be mandatory. But I can't believe this is the direction our country is going in. In other cultures teachers are respected. Here-we have absurd expectations. Teachers want to teach. They care about their students and consider themselves as the protector of those students during school hours. But not with guns. Teachers should be teaching. 

LAborn
LAborn

This is the dumbest idea ever, possibly. Does anyone every visualize these things before they speak out loud? I don't care if my child's teacher is an excellent marksperson, I don't want him/her to have a gun school. If this comes to pass, that's the next story you will read about, "Student accidentally killed by teacher's gun"

rukidnme
rukidnme

African American parents shouldnt allow their child in a classroom with a teacher who has a gun. African American children are already punished at a high rate than other for the same offenses. These teachers will also think "its the black kid" when in fact all of these mass shootings have been by "the white kid". 

BrandonLewis
BrandonLewis

Let's make sure the teachers are required to take at least weekly training sessions to keep their skills sharp.  Gun skills rust due to inactivity.

JimSedberry
JimSedberry

Why would you freak out? You people are such whinny littlle people. The only reaction to a situation like that is another reaction with a gun, and shoot to kill, why is that such a problem? Get use to it, you're not in Kansas anymore, you scared little person!!! 

halexolvera
halexolvera

seems like the last thing you want to give a low performing system is guns........especially in the areas where the well insured are legally well medicated.....

keeptalking
keeptalking

Where does it say in this article that they are arming teachers to shoot at bad guys...you see teachers with guns and just start to freak out, the whole premise of this story was helping teachers understand the threat that police have to face in these situation and what they can do to help law enforcement WITHOUT picking up a gun.

srv240
srv240

Why stop there? Let's not only ask them to educate our children, defend against armed invaders but perhaps diffusing bombs and martial arts. Let's just hire James Bond for all teaching jobs. This is insane and a gift to gun manufacturers so they can continue pumping bullets into our society.

WolfgangWHalbig
WolfgangWHalbig

Look at this group of teachers.


Then ask how many of them take anti-depressants just so they can get through the school day?


That is how difficult teaching or being a school administrators has become.


Now do we give guns to be people who have mental health issues?


There more teachers, school bus drivers and school administrators on medication than ever before and you want them to have guns.


A man just took a gun away from a police officers and shot three other police officers in New jersey.

Who are the idiots thinking of this crap and who is the idiots buying it?




mb
mb

Yep, I'll take my $85,000 teaching salary and add $45,000 for a security salary. Sweet, $130,000 for 9.5 months of work!!

ChristopherJohnBookkeeping
ChristopherJohnBookkeeping

NIce in theory flowed in practice, if a craezed killer wants to go on a killing rampage they will eliminate the gun carrying obstacle first, they are crazy not stupid.

ToeHead
ToeHead

@ColoradoPhil Maybe because you have to take an approach that covers many different areas.  If improving background checks could prevent more shootings, why not do it? If you're a law abiding citizen, what do you have to be afraid of?

gerrytheteacher
gerrytheteacher

@lancelotpa The idea of the training is for teachers to learn how to react to an armed intruder. "

The purpose of these sessions, which involved paint pellets, wasn’t to train administrators in how to take down shooters, Jefferson County chief deputy Randy Christian said in an e-mail. “They were allowed to take on the role of law enforcement so they could understand the need to relay accurate and timely information to first responders.”

In education we call this experiential learning. It's not what I had in mind when I signed up. I love teaching. I won't train with pretend guns and I won't carry a real gun.



Brianmo180
Brianmo180

@LAborn If you don't trust your kid's teachers with guns then why would you trust them with your kid's minds? Makes no sense.

IsabellaGrace
IsabellaGrace

I hope this crazy idea won't come to pass. I don't want to send my kids to school with aiming teachers. Less guns, less crime.

BrandonLewis
BrandonLewis

@LAborn ...or depressed teacher take frustrations out on students.  Call the paramedics!

BladingAtFortyfive
BladingAtFortyfive

@LAborn there are 20 dead children and six dead adults at Sandy Hook because there was no armed response. What "security" the school had didn't stop the shooter. Here's an easy y/n question: If you had a child that was killed at Sandy hook School, would you now be wishing that there was and armed adult on the scene?

bmayevergreen
bmayevergreen

@srv240 Well, said, srv240.  I can't believe this insanity.  As  a teacher (now retired) who taught in Jefferson County, Colorado at the time of Columbine, we took many steps subsequent to the Columbine tragedy.  Simple steps like drills where we covered the windows, shut off the lights, and kept very quiet.  There was an armed police officer at Columbine High at the time of the shooting.  Virginia Tech, as most colleges and universities, had their own police dept.  And Ft. Hood was a military base.  This is insanity.  It will not solve the problem and I know very few teachers and administrators that want to be "trained and armed."   

keeptalking
keeptalking

@srv240 Well if your so paranoid about leaving them in a room with a teacher that has a gun because they might go "crazy" why would you leave them there at all?  Besides this article has nothing to do with training teachers how to shoot guns its all about training them on how to best help LEO that have to respond to active shooter in schools.

smithjenny1957
smithjenny1957

@WolfgangWHalbig How can you make a statement like that? You're assuming that all teachers are taking antidepressants or other medications in order to make a sweeping generalization such as that. How arrogant to assume that you know all. I'm an educator, and I resent your sweeping generalization. Not all the teachers are going to have a gun and holster shoved down their throats--only the ones who, like our police officers (and considering the scumbags THEY deal with regularly, what kinds of medications do you think they take, since you seem to be an expert?) have comfortably chosen to take on that responsibility. With that responsibility will come training and certification as well as range qualifications. I am an educator, female, and I've had firearm training. Training is the key, because anyone will fall back to the training automatically in a crisis situation. If our teachers aren't responsible and self aware enough to know whether or not they would be appropriate for this kind of thing, then why are they allowed to teach our children? We have to give them the credit to know if they would be able to do this or not. Also, check out the FBI's website about SROs, or school resource officers. An article written March, 2011 to address school violence essentially recommended doing what the NRA recommended...and this was coming from a law enforcement agency of our federal government. The article had many other worthy suggestions, and school admininistrators would benefit from reading this article. And no, I do not take any medications.

JimSedberry
JimSedberry

And why is that? Could it be because liberals like you have taken all of the discipline out of the hands of the teachers, and they have no control over the classrooms, a society of ignorant children raised on welfare and single parents, asking the teacher to be both father, mother and priest to all kids, because our society is a loss cause?

I couldn't be a teacher today, because if little johnnie wanted to disrupt the class, act a fool or whatever I'd definately have to kick his @@ss, because little johhnie doesn't have anyone at home to do it!!

Sad state. teachers on drugs just to make it throught the day, that what you get in a political correct world of today NOTHING!!! 

ncatucker
ncatucker

@mb Been teaching for 25 years and don't make anything *close* to 85K.  Guess I'm teaching in the wrong place.  Also - I have *NO* interest in carrying/handling a gun.   Far too many scenarios where that could end in disaster.

Communist47
Communist47

@ChristopherJohnBookkeeping

That is exactly why the bad guys must be out-gunned. When a bad guy carries a semi-auto rifle, a good guy must have a machine gun. That is exactly why we must tell Congress to change the law back to allow civilians to buy and own machine guns. First step is to encourage everyone for those not already done so to carry guns everywhere they go 24/7. The only way it will work is by deterrence, not by shooting the bad guy. Same way with the machine gun purchase, it is for deterrence.

ColoradoPhil
ColoradoPhil

@ToeHead @ColoradoPhil To the question of how to stop "gun violence", you can't. There is no "gun violence", there are a number of different violence issues each with different causes and different solutions. The solution to gang/drug violence is to either end the war on drugs or give the gang/drug organizations some ability to thrive apart from their current environment. With the 1% being such significant winners in the war on the middle class this seems unlikely to happen anytime soon but would likely reduce our overall gun violence rate to one similar to the rest of the civilized world.

 Mass killings and particularly those in schools evoke very emotional responses but are really very isolated incidents (and therefore much much harder to deal with).  Putting armed guards in schools is idiotic. Putting bike helmets on children will prevent many more needless deaths. The most devastating school killing occurred 86 years ago where explosives were the weapon of choice. It's not a new problem. We've seen how effective IEDs have been in Iraq and Afghanistan. There will always be a tool available to commit this type of carnage to those who choose to do so. There have been three common issues in almost all of the modern era mass killings that could be addressed in a culture with over 300 million guns. 1) Mental issues, a story in the Denver Post recently cited an 80% drop in the availability of mental health services in Colorado, not good. 2) The killers know that they will attain immortality with their deeds. Ask yourself if you can name the victims of the Columbine shootings, everyone knows who the shooters were. 3) We now have 24hour news coverage of all of the gory details of how the killings were carried out, excellent training for the next young, intelligent, white, mentally ill male who chooses to go on this type of rampage How do we deal with those issues??

I'm sure that I'm not the only gun owner who would like to see better background checks. Everyone should go through a check when buying a weapon, but that will only be effective when those checks are meaningfull. Lanza's mother was trying to get help and couldn't. Holmes had already been deemed a significant danger and nothing was done. Cho should have been denied but got his guns even after a background check. 

There is a big problem with doing anything that even smells like gun control. When LaPierre of the NRA held his news conference he already knew that there was very little, if any, possibility of any gun control passing the senate, let alone the house. Gun rights groups spent $3,000,000 in the 2012 election, gun control groups $4,000. As a country, we've already voted on gun control and it lost. The massive run on gun shops confirms this. There is a small minority in the gun control movement that seems to to be fixated on implementing their pet solutions which they know are unacceptable to gun owners. This is at the cost of doing anything meaningful about the actual problem. You can outlaw high cap magazines, but gun owners know that this really won't make much difference (much like the last AWB). Gun owners also understand that once that band aid fails the gun control lobby will have to come after the next "demon" on the list which will also fail unless the fundamental causes of this type of event are addressed.

The gun control lobby began their response to this killing by calling gun owners "baby killers" and such. Newspapers have printed the names and addresses of gun owners and endangered lives .... why? Gun owners are, by far, the most powerful, well organized and well funded of any outside the business community. If you want to get something done why would you intentionally try to irritate them? If you want a suggestion as to how to move forward on this issue you might ask why the gun control lobby continues to act like the three stooges. Ask why, after 30 years, they seem to only have one solution to this problem. As a gun owner I've heard that "I shouldn't worry, we're not trying to take your guns away". I've also heard that "hidden" guns should be outlawed (concealed carry) and that "non-hidden" guns should be outlawed (open carry). It kind of makes it hard to take them seriously.

lancelotpa
lancelotpa

@gerrytheteacher I respect that you don't want to nor should you have to carry a gun as a teacher.  But you said it yourself, it was experiential learning in what to do in the case of a shooter to help law enforcement with information.

I agree, that the world has become a very sad place, when this is something teachers, or anyone for that matter, have to think about or participate in something like this.  The reality however, is it has happened, and personally I would want to be prepared and know as much as I can to stay safe.

My initial comment was directed at the many reactionary comments by posters who clearly DID NOT read the story.

PureRumble
PureRumble

Oh it makes perfect sense! I shall now explain it to you.

See if u trust your kid's mind to a bad teacher that has no gun, then the damage can be repaired. Say that the teacher would teach something completely stupid and idiotic untruth to your child, for instance that the evolution theory is a lie or that same sex marriage is the creation of Satan to corrupt God's world.

When your kid comes home you as a parent can take steps to repair this damage. You can reeducate your child by explaining the evolution theory is a common sense fact of science, and that homosexuals have the right to feel the love and empathy of a life partner just as much as a anyone does. You can also speak to the board of the school to complain about the teacher, or you can introduce your kid to a new school.

However, these suggested methods of reparation become exceedingly difficult if you locate a bullet hole through your kid's head, or some other vital body part that puts your kid in the state defined as being dead...

Hope this clarifies things for you


wth?
wth?

@BladingAtFortyfive @LAborn If you had a child at school, and another student stole a teacher's gun, would you be happy that the teacher was armed? If a school can afford it, put an armed guard at the door, by all means! But don't flood a school with dangerous weapons, and give them to people who are over-worked, under-payed, and within easy reach of hundreds of immature children. 

smithjenny1957
smithjenny1957

@bmayevergreen @srv240 Soldiers on military bases are not allowed to carry their firearms. A civilian police officer stopped the shooter.

smithjenny1957
smithjenny1957

@keeptalking @srv240 Exactly. They could do plenty of harm with a knife or poison Kool Aid. But everyone will freak about a gun...and most NICS checks will weed out the wackos, once the states are forced to comply with existing laws requiring them to do so. States have gotten away with this for too long now. LEGAL gun owners are not the problem.

wth?
wth?

@JimSedberry So you're plan is to allow teachers to assault and/or batter students who misbehave, and to give teachers guns? 

mb
mb

@ncatucker @mb  You're at the wrong district then.  I've been teaching 12 yrs and still have a long way to move up the pay scale.  Top of scale is $103k with 16 yrs + Masters + 60.

ToeHead
ToeHead

@Communist47 I guess we're going to need some bombs and grenades according to this line of thinking. I'm just glad people as bat $hit crazy as you don't make policy in this country.  Loads of machine gun wielding guards at school? Right.....

ncatucker
ncatucker

@mb @ncatucker Holy Moly!....I teach in a small rural district.  Top of our scale is less than half that...

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