Schools in Orange Co. teach ways to combat gunmen

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A teacher receives firearms training (AP Photo)

A teacher receives firearms training (AP Photo)

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — Teachers at school districts in southern Orange County are being taught that if they can’t hide or get away from a campus gunman, they should try to take him out.

It’s a very different message than the past emphasis on avoiding confrontation.

The new approach: As a last resort, aggressively use chairs, tables, fire extinguishers and even books as weapons. Not just to defend yourself and students, but to disable a shooter.

The Orange County Register reports ( that the Capistrano Unified School district and others are adopting this kind of “run, hide and fight” strategy.

The rethinking comes in response to the killings last year at Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School.

School-district and law-enforcement officials say that telling teachers they can fight back empowers them.

“Why would you just lie there, and just wait to — and I hate to use these words, because it’s not sensitive — and wait to be killed when there are so many other options out there?” said Sgt. Nancy Wilke of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department’s juvenile services bureau. “If someone is trying to hurt you, why wouldn’t you fight for your life?”

Like Capistrano Unified, Saddleback Valley Unified School District is implementing the approach. Teachers will be asked to speak frankly with students, a conversation that includes asking what items could be used as weapons in an emergency.

School safety consultant Ken Trump describes what’s happening in Orange County as a “current fad” that is taking hold nationally.

Trump told the newspaper that lockdown protocols have worked well, and argued against confronting a gunman, which he said is likely to end tragically.

“It’s like going into a 45-minute taekwondo lesson and coming out feeling like a martial artist,” he said. “It will get you killed faster than if you don’t do some of these things.”

The advice to confront isn’t only directed at teachers.

Shortly after the Connecticut shootings, the Alabama Department of Homeland Security released a video in December with a similar “run, hide and fight” message for office workers.



Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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