Teachers in Texas, Ohio taking gun-training classes

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January 12, 2013, 6:51 am
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(NECN/NBC News: Janet Shamlian) - It's not usually part of a teacher's training, but in recent weeks, educators have been flocking to new classes in gun training and concealed weapons courses.

As the gun debate dominates the national conversation, many teachers are learning the ABCs of pulling the trigger, and since the Sandy Hook shooting, the training has been offered to many teachers for free.

But weapons in the classroom? Parents have mixed feelings.

"I think putting guns that close to children presents a risk in itself, so I'm not sure it sends the right message,” said Chicago parent Mandy Koehl.

Countered Jennifer Thompson, "I actually like the idea. I think it's better to be safe and cautious.”

Instead of arming teachers, some courses are showing them how to disarm a gunman.

Trainers in San Antonio are staging mock attacks -- a simulated scenario to prepare for what's become a reality of the workplace.

"I don't think that there is a way to fully prepare for this -- you never know,” said Sarah Villarreal, a pharmacy teacher at the University of Texas. “I would never expect this to happen at work. It's better to have something than nothing and do nothing.”

Elsewhere in Texas, two concealed handgun classes graduated 460 teachers, while 1,100 signed up for a three-day gun course in Ohio. Two hundred took the instruction in Utah.

And in a suburban Atlanta high school, teachers now have a security plan that includes barricading the door, hiding students, cutting the lights and keeping silent in hopes an intruder would pass by.

"There should be some hallowed ground, and it's unfortunate there isn't,” said Jennifer Shanti. “At the same time, I feel reassured with evil in the world, we're doing the best we can.”

For Santi and other educators, the realization that teaching these days might have to include a whole new lesson plan.

Tags: ohio, texas, NECN, NBC News, Janet Shamlian, Gun-training
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