More Teachers Nationally Training to Defend Their Students With Firearms

teacher school shooting firearm training

Christy Belt, Timpanogos Academy 5th grade teacher, engages in an exercise designed to help teachers make good decisions in critical, high stress situations such as an active shooter incident during the teacher’s academy training at the Utah County Sheriff’s Office shooting range, in Spanish Fork Canyon, Utah. About 30 teachers in Utah are spending their summer learning how to stuff wounds and shoot guns as part of a training held by police to prepare educators for an active shooter scenario in their schools. (AP Photo/ Rick Bowmer)

About 20 states allow teachers to carry firearms while on the job to protect their students. That decision is left up to local school boards and there are various training requirements for teachers to who want to take advantage of the option. States like Texas and Florida have recently strengthened their laws allowing teacher carry.

The fact remains that — despite the anti-gun agitprop peddled by groups like Giffords and the Moms — a student is more likely to be struck by lightning than to be the victim of a school shooter. But that doesn’t mean schools shouldn’t take reasonable precautions to ensure that, should the worst happen, they have some kind of active means of defending students until law enforcement arrives and responds.

In this Saturday, June 29, 2019, photo, Cindy Bullock, Timpanogos Academy secretary, participates in shooting drills at the Utah County Sheriff’s Office shooting range during the teacher’s academy training, in Spanish Fork Canyon, Utah. About 30 teachers in Utah are spending their summer learning how to stuff wounds and shoot guns as part of a training held by police to prepare educators for an active shooter scenario in their schools. (AP Photo/ Rick Bowmer)

That’s why stories like this from the Associated Press are becoming more frequent.

Nancy Miramontes had 30 seconds to find the gunman.

The Utah school psychologist weaved through a maze of dusty halls before spotting him in the corner of a classroom, holding a gun to a student’s head. She took a deep breath and fired three shots, the first time she’s ever used a gun. One bullet pierced the shooter’s forehead.

“Nice work,” a police officer told her as they exchanged high-fives in front of cardboard props representing the gunman and student.

Miramontes recently joined 30 other Utah teachers at a series of trainings where police instructed them on how to respond to an active shooter. Teachers went through the shooting drill inside a warehouse set up to look like a school, then moved outside to a shooting range.

Active shooter training for educators is becoming more common nationwide, and Utah is one of several states that generally allow permit holders to carry guns in public schools. Other states, including Florida and Texas, have programs that allow certain teachers to be armed if they are approved under a set of stipulations.

Utah County Sheriff Mike Smith said the popularity of concealed carry permits in Utah makes such trainings even more important. About half the teachers brought their own handguns to the shooting range.

“If teachers are going to be bringing firearms into schools, let’s make sure they know how to handle them safely,” Smith said.

(AP Photo/ Rick Bowmer)

At least 39 states require lockdown, active-shooter or similar safety drills, according to the Education Commission of the States. Other states have less explicit requirements or leave it to districts. Utah requires its elementary schools to conduct at least one safety drill each month, and its secondary schools to have detailed emergency response plans. The firearm training is voluntary, but the Utah County Sheriff’s Teachers Academy already has a waiting list for its next four-week program.

Despite increasing prevalence, some school safety experts aren’t in favor of firearms training and worry that such lessons could cause undue stress or harm.

“Are police tasking teachers to perform a law enforcement responsibility by arming them to protect others? We have to be cautious of what we ask people to do in these traumatic, stressful situations,” said Ken Trump, a school safety expert with the National School Safety and Security Services consulting firm.

Miramontes said her teacher friends in Utah and other states debated about it on Facebook. But after the training, she said she felt empowered.

“I know how to protect myself and my students now; I know what to expect if the worst happens,” she said.

At the recent session, officers showed teachers how to disarm a gunman, where to shoot on the body, how to properly aim and unload a firearm. They also went over de-escalation techniques, self-defense and medical responses such as how to pack a wound and tie a tourniquet on a child.

Officers spent months designing the course and local businesses donated money and equipment. Attendees paid $20 to participate.

Between bites of pastries, teachers relayed their fears:

“Will the gunman leave after I shoot them?”

“How do I protect the children when they come?”

The sun stretched over the mountains as teachers put down their coffee and strapped into bulletproof vests, goggles and protective head gear. Above the ringing of gunshots, some teachers discussed summer vacation plans and classroom supply lists.

Sandy Grow, a special needs educator at a Lehi middle school, said the massacres at Parkland and Sandy Hook left her feeling unsafe at work. A gunman killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, last year. In 2012, 20 children and six educators were killed in a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

“The idea of being trapped in a classroom with my students and not being able to protect them bothered me,” she said. “I want to defend them and keep them safe, not be a sitting duck.”

Mike Ericksen thinks a lot about how to keep students safe at Mountain View High School, where he’s the principal and his son is a student. In 2016, before he began working there, five students were stabbed in the boys’ locker room.

Reloading his handgun for target practice, Ericksen said the training has left him better prepared to fight back if someone threatens his school.

“I’m more confident in my skills and what to do if something happens,” he said. “I’m not as nervous now. I can help.”

comments

  1. avatar Timothy Toroian says:

    When DID the left start thinking you could defend yourself against gunmen by talking?? I will bet even the teachers who don’t shoot will subconsciously feel safer. Like the poster says, “Guns Because You Can’t Fistfight Tyranny”.

  2. avatar anarchyst says:

    It seems that “officer safety” trumps “courage under fire” almost all of the time, but especially with “school resource officers” and police officers in general. It seems that for almost every police officer, making it to a cushy retirement is the ultimate goal, the protection of the public be damned. Add to that, observe the many unjustified shootings by police that get “covered up” by police-friendly prosecutors and grand juries.
    All one has to do is look at the (in)action of the police officers during the last number of mass school shootings, where these “trained professionals” SAT ON THEIR HANDS while the carnage was going on.
    You can bet that us military veterans in such a case would be drawn TOWARD the sound of gunfire. If I had my way, I would arm teachers who wish to be armed, and would hire military veterans as school support personnel such as janitors and maintenance personnel. Janitorial and maintenance personnel have the run of the school buildings and would make an effective “reactionary force”. Us veterans would be much more effective than police, (who are only concerned about their own “safety”), as us veterans are trained to go towards the sound of gunfire and “solve the problem”.
    Today’s human nature dictates that the person with all of the “training” (especially) law enforcement DOES cower in fear, while a 90 lb. armed teacher would reluctantly, but successfully take out the shooter. Being forced into a situation also forces one to act.
    There are many examples of persons, who one would normally think, would not be capable of acting in an extremely high-stress situation, but DO come out on top-stopping the threat, and saving lives.
    Sad to say, today’s police practices dictate that the cop’s life is MORE IMPORTANT than that of those he has sworn to protect despite the cops having statutory protections that do not apply to us ordinary civilians.
    All one has to do is look at Medal of Honor recipients, who are almost always mild-mannered, initially reluctant to act, but DO act, and perform feats who most would think are normally beyond their capacity and capabilities TRUE bravery in the heat of battle. The same applies to those civilians who act during school shootings.
    Human nature has a habit of propelling (actually forcing) the normal, average person into a true hero and life saver, while showing the true (cowardly behavior) nature of those we assign to protect us. A good example of our protectors cowering in fear is the deputies who FAILED TO ACT despite having all of the equipment necessary and the preferential laws on their side (that protect them from lawsuits and liability).
    TRUE heroes ACT, while our so-called protectors (failed to) REACT.

    1. avatar Old Sheepdog says:

      Anarchyst, I’m pretty sure you’re using too broad a brush in painting all LEOs as the same kind of cowards that were “on the job” in Broward County, Florida. I’ve never heard of that behavior since the guidelines changed a few years ago. The rule WAS…get things contained and wait for backup…like SWAT…to clean up the mess. Those rules were changed about 15 years ago to basically…”get your ass in there and take down the bad guy(s).” To my knowledge, that’s been followed pretty much 100%…except Parkland.
      I agree there are lots of veterans who could and should get envolved with many facets of law enforcement…like being police officers, sheriff’s deputies, school resource personnel, etc….but they need to apply for those jobs, qualify and get hired.
      Until then, the local LEO is who has the detail.
      And it’s grossly unfair to brand them as you did.

    2. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

      anarchyist, that had to be just about the stupidest rant I ever read. What about all the LEOs that are veterans? Myself included. I’m retired now, but worked with many veterans during my career in law enforcement. Cushy retirement? Really? Where? I live very modestly. Spend a great deal of my time taking care of my 90 year old parents. Mowed their lawn yesterday. Yeah, the SRO in Parkland dropped the ball. In case you haven’t noticed he’s been arrested and the governor removed his boss from office. If you hate cops, just say, “I hate cops and will never believe they can do anything right.” However, I have to ask; why don’t you become a cop and help fix the problem?

      1. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

        anarchyist, the crickets chirp.

      2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        Gadsden Flag,

        There have been multiple incidents where sworn law enforcement officers violated the “new” (new as of the Columbine High School attack) standard of “storming the castle” in response to spree-killers. The Pulse Nightclub attack is a very obvious recent example where something like two dozen wounded patrons bled out and died during the several hours before police finally charged into the building. Had police immediately charged inside, probably all of those two dozen wounded patrons would have survived.

        At the same time, there are also multiple incidents where sworn law enforcement officers have acted honorably and upheld the “new” standard, immediately charging into the location of an active spree-killer.

        Since sworn law enforcement officers have clearly demonstrated that we cannot always rely on them to immediately “storm the castle”, We the People should have the option to arm ourselves and be able to immediately and effectively defend ourselves. I believe that is Anarchyst’s point.

      3. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        Gadsden Flag,

        I know you did not direct your question at me — I thought I would respond anyway. Please read my response as informative and not a snide response or attack directed at you.

        You asked, “… why don’t you become a cop and help fix the problem?”

        First of all, our unalienable right to effective self-defense does not depend on whether or not we are a sworn law enforcement officer. Therefore, the true problem is state governments who only allow effective self-defense for sworn law enforcement officers. And the true solution is something other than all of us becoming sworn law enforcement officers.

        Second of all, it is extremely impractical if not impossible for many/most of us to become sworn law enforcement officers. Why? Some of us have disqualifying age, physical, and/or learning limitations. Some of us are family caregivers and cannot participate. And some of us live in jurisdictions where our local law enforcement refuses to make us active or reserve law enforcement officers. I am sure there are several other reasons as well.

        Finally, requiring people to be sworn law enforcement officers (before they can legally avail themselves of effective self-defense) is extremely inefficient. And it is totally unnecessary from a practical standpoint. A school teacher who wishes to avail herself of effective self-defense does NOT need to know the intricacies of Terry stops, felony stops, crime scene security, evidentiary procedure, first-aid, or a myriad other details of law enforcement officer training. Such training is a waste of limited resources (trainer time, trainee time, training facilities, and training supplies to name a few) and is a detriment to our society.

  3. avatar Steven Lynch says:

    (CNN)President Donald Trump is doubling down on his support for the controversial idea of arming school teachers as a protective and preventive measure against school shootings, indicating that aspects of such a proposal could be “up to states.”
    NRA backs Trump’s call for arming teachers: ‘Schools must be the most hardened targets’

    Nation Feb 22, 2019 06:50 PM EDT

    1. avatar frank speak says:

      well,..they just shot this down in PA…as the governor signed into law a bill outlawing the arming of teachers…this state is turning more pink every day…

  4. avatar grumpster says:

    The politicians that make the laws can have guns in their offices, have armed protection in the building, and via bodyguards. About time that teachers who are willing and able are allowed to arm themselves in the so called laughable “gun free” safety zones.

  5. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

    Trained hundreds of shooters. Some new. Most with varying degrees of experience. Can’t remember one that didn’t leave without a new sense of confidence. Even those that thought they didn’t need the class, but were only taking it so they could get a CCW. That sense of confidence is what the left really fears. The scariest thing you can tell a liberal is, “I don’t need the government for anything.” Good for those teachers!

  6. avatar that one guy says:

    ““Are police tasking teachers to perform a law enforcement responsibility by arming them to protect others? We have to be cautious of what we ask people to do in these traumatic, stressful situations,” said Ken Trump, a school safety expert with the National School Safety and Security Services consulting firm.”

    Virtually nobody is suggesting that armed classroom teachers leave the relative security of their classroom and their students to go on offense and track down a threat lurking the halls. That’s what the police are for (assuming they actually answer the call to duty). Armed teachers are defense. They are defending their classroom, their students, and themselves.

    “Are we asking teachers to be cops?” No. We are asking teachers to be prepared to use the most effective means of self defense available, and we are asking school districts, administrations, boards, and city and state legislatures to allow them to do so.

  7. avatar WI Patriot says:

    “More Teachers Nationally Training to Defend Their Students With Firearms”

    Sad to say, but the way it should be…

  8. avatar PG13 says:

    I teach at a high school in southwest FL and our district has been very strong on their stance of “no armed teachers.” Our student body is about 2700 kids and we’ve got two resource officers. We also open our school to the local sheriff’s dept. to run their active shooter drills. They let teachers sit in if the want to get a better idea of what an active shooter situation would look like. They use actors and reenact random past scenarios and let the officers react as best they can using realistic response times (7-15 minutes for more than just the ROs to be on campus). It’s a mess, and there’s never really a scenario where no-one dies. I hate knowing that if they would allow me to armed I could at least do my best to keep the students in my classroom safe, even if i couldn’t do anything else. The training is chaotic and I honestly wouldn’t want to be roaming the hallways trying to track down the shooter, much less just trying to identify the one (or more) shooter In a swarming mass of panicked students fleeing in every direction, but I’ve asked a couple of officers what they really think about arming teachers and they’ve said, even if they never did anything more than stay in our classrooms, that would be better than they way things currently are. What they don’t want, and I totally agree, is teachers attempting to “respond” to the shooter. They don’t think much of even somewhat trained teachers trying do what they believe they’re much more well prepared for and I can understand that. Just their ability to effectively communicate beyond shouting distance makes them more effective there. I don’t know. I guess I’ll just have to say what everyone else says and hope it never happens.

  9. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    The “coward of Broward” effect will have far-reaching consequences. More and more people now know, especially those who are not gun people, know that if the police are standing right there, THERE IS A CHANCE, they will do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

    Just as there is a CHANCE you can be struck by lightning.

    I think this is the beginning of proof In a loss of confidence in the general public in the police forces of the United States. And as more democrat City mayor’s start to order more stand Downs of their police, during public confrontations, that loss of confidence in the police will grow.

  10. avatar Jay getting madder by the day in Florida says:

    Teach all the teachers that want to learn. Spend millions of dollars and hope the training is never used. Makes some “Common Sense” ?????
    Hell F%^&ng NO. Its wasting money for the most part.
    Want safer schools?? Who doesn’t.
    Do away with for a start with “Gun Free Zones” They are after all Killing Zones. No guns no defenses for the good guys.
    Hurry up and wait for a cop to come and hide.
    Im too lazy to look up whoever started gun free zones. Might have been Bush Sr who was dumb enough to sign it into law.
    But that’s the only place to begin.
    Wont cost but a few dollars to remove the useless signage.

  11. avatar Anymouse says:

    Bad security to use the psychologists name in the article. She might as well open carry now. A shooter would know to target her first or stake out her office.

  12. avatar Josh says:

    I am a teacher in Texas at the elementary level and also a firearms advocate. I’ve seen teachers (all female for what it’s worth, but most of them are in elementary) breakdown over what I would consider little things. Test scores, stress from admin, etc. and would say most would not have a clue what to do if shtf. However, I teacher at an urban school with over 800 students. It would be extremely easy for anyone to access my school if they wanted to. It’s two sets of glass doors and a trip through the office, of which is staffed by a couple people who answer the phones and talk to parents. The middle schools and high schools have resource officers who are armed, but not at the elementary level. Is arming teachers the answer? I don’t know. It would depend on the teacher, but many are not going to be able to handle the stress involved.

    1. avatar Ing says:

      Is arming teachers the answer? No.

      Is letting teachers exercise their inherent and constitutionally protected right to arm themselves the answer? Yes.

      No one needs to be tasked with carrying a gun. The teachers who can’t handle it won’t try, and no one is asking them to anyway. The people who can handle the responsibility will self-select because they *want* the responsibility. And everyone will be both freer and safer in the long run.

      That’s the way Americans used to operate before the progressive cancer spread, and it’s still by far the best way to do it.

  13. avatar Bierce Ambrose says:

    Said one official: “If we can’t keep spree shooters from trying, maybe we should let teachers try to do what they can. They can’t do worse than the rest of us.”

    1. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

      Very well said!

  14. avatar Bierce Ambrose says:

    Said one official: “Well, people with the dedication and will to throw their bodies between their kids and a shooter might be able to do something right if we allowed them more options. We’ll see…”

  15. avatar Bierce Ambrose says:

    As everyone knows, these evil death-machines have a will of their own, and possess everyone around them..

    We’re hoping students, teachers, coaches, security personnel and staff who have in the past thrown themselves between their friends and spree shooters will be able to resist becoming spree shooters themselves. We’ll be monitoring them all closely (unlike, for examle, spree shooter number 9 who was reported eleventy-seven times before making good on his threats. We figured that out after…)

  16. avatar Bierce Ambrose says:

    A few as a time, some school districts are deciding to do what they can to protect their kids in the world as it is.

    Others, sadly, condinue to indulge their own distaste for the world as it is, and their kids will continue, sadly, to experinece the consequences. Briefly, horrible, but the real loss is all the time they won’t have, later.

    In other news, while incremental reforms continue in the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, county law enforcement, and school district policy there, the policies that allowed last years’ spree shooting were the result of the county govern,ent’s, dominant county party’s, and of course their constituents preferences. No changes seem to be getting traction with those.

  17. avatar Bierce Ambrose says:

    A few school districts allowing teachers entrusted with kids development and general safety to also optionally carry defensive arms. This is such common sense gun policy, it’s generating headlines nation wide.

  18. avatar Jim Bullock says:

    One by one, laws permitting people to be heroic in terrible situations like spree shootings are getting some traction; many named after heroes who stepped up when they had fewer, worse options.

    Oh, wait. It’s the anti-people who politicize the victims. My bad.

  19. avatar Coxsone says:

    Just completed my FASTER training with 24 like-minded educators. Excellent organization with some great instructors. https://i2i.org/faster-training/

  20. avatar Joseph says:

    The Santa Fe, Texas shooting is hardly ever mentioned. Twenty three shot, 10 fatally. Why is it not a big deal? Because the students wouldn’t buy into the media’s attempt to blame it on guns, therefore the media forgot about the story in short order. In the other two shootings mentioned in this article, gun control is still being talked about in the media in relation to them. Plus, in Santa Fe the shooter used a shotgun, again, not part of the narrative and reason not to talk about it. As a result, people in general don’t think about Santa Fe, which happened in May of 2018, but still talk about the one from 2012. The media spins it they way they want it, and it works.

    1. avatar Old Sheepdog says:

      Joseph…You are 100% correct. Whatever narrative the media and their controllers want to be the “cause to be believed and fought for” is the way it will be portrayed to the masses of people stupid enough to follow their politically focused propaganda. The truth and/or facts have no place in the discussion.
      Thank you for laying it out like it REALLY is.

  21. avatar Mister Fleas says:

    “Will the gunman leave after I shoot them?”

    Yes, after you properly shoot them, he will leave for Hell.

  22. avatar Jim Wildrick Jr says:

    Most of the anti gunners that say our kids would be better without armed teachers are the same ones that have their kids in private schools with layers of security and travel to events with armed security and return to gated communities .Their concern fades when it comes to other parents concerns about their kids safety.

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

button to share on facebook
button to tweet
button to share via email