Spanish Fork, UT—Local school teachers and school staff began handgun training this week for an active shooter situation.
There were dozens of teachers and administrators attending the training held by the Utah County Sheriff’s Department.
Their goal: to stop, shoot, and kill anyone who threatens the lives of their students.
The training began just four days after a disgruntled teenage student brought a gun to his school in Santa Clarita, California.
He was able to kill two students and wound three others before he shot himself in the head.
The nation seems to be divided on whether to arm school staff, but for Utah County Sheriff Mike Smith, it’s more a question of training.
“If teachers are carrying guns, well, I want them to know how to use a gun,” Smith said.
After a recent lock down at a Salt Lake City school, deputies realized that the teachers and staff needed more training.
Some of the guns were stored in less than ideal places, but in some instances where they were stored properly, the teachers were afraid to use them because they weren’t sure of their abilities.
When Smith offered the voluntary six-week class, it filled up very quickly. Smith said that there’s already a wait list for the next class.
Ready and Willing
While any school staff or administrator can attend, most of the trainees are teachers.
One 4th grade teacher, Jeff Mortensen, said that it was essentially his duty to get the training.
“Those parents send those kids expecting that they’re going to be kept safe. Right now, that’s on the teachers. That’s my job. They look to me as the person who’s going to keep them safe.”
During their six weeks, the teachers and staff will learn more than just how to shoot their handguns.
Smith’s curriculum will cover first aid for gunshot victims, de-escalation, handgun drills, and even shooting a target that is using a sniper rifle.
While many people say this isn’t the job for teachers or school staff, but for police, Smith has a response:
“Everybody hopes it never happens. But at the end of the day, hope is a terrible strategy for success.”