A group of South Florida teachers learned how to disarm a gunman using fake guns as props, in a first-ever, free classroom defense course at Technon Tactical Academy in Hollywood on Sunday.
“I’m not really satisfied with the sit-and-wait approach if there's an intruder on campus, and I wanted to learn to be a little bit more proactive than reactive," said teacher Krista Vaicaitis.
Teachers learned how to use a handgun, take down an attacker and use classroom equipment, such as a fire extinguisher, to fight back in those precious minutes before emergency responders arrive.
The self-defense instructor, Joe Gehr, created mock scenarios that have become a grim reality of school shootings. It is what prompted him to offer the course to any school staff members after the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn.
"In today's crazy world, unfortunately you are the first responders,” Gehr said. “You have to understand that these types of incidents, you will be there alone. And law enforcement will not make it in time to help you, and so it is imperative that you learn how to protect yourself.”
Teachers taking the course said they think all administrators and staff members should take a similar class for precaution.
“I think everybody should be aware of what’s going on,” said teacher Kim Winfree. “I think they should do it in all the schools.”
Teacher Kaynell Green said she picked up more than just physical skills.
“I want to learn how to protect my students, not only how to protect my students, but also how to get rid of that initial fear and to be prepared so if it do occur,” Green said.
The academy will offer a similar course Feb. 20.
TO REGISTER: Technon Tactical Academy in Hollywood
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