Teachers armed with a different kind of weapon

FRESNO, Calif.

Sandy Hook, Columbine, and Virginia Tech. In all three shootings, the gunmen forced their way onto campus to ambush an unsuspecting crowd. But a Valley charter school is working to ward off this danger, by educating teachers how to identify a threat, and execute a plan put together in advance of an emergency.

Ron J. Pierini with Advanced Tactical Methods said, "I do understand sometimes you have to meet violence with violence, sometimes that's necessary and sometimes that's good training to have, but one thing we can do to upgrade our security is putting some layers of defensive security out there in front of us."

Tactical trainer RJ Pierini calls it situational awareness.

"Situational awareness is basically counter-surveillance for personal protection," Pierini said. "It's just in its most basic form."

On Wednesday, he taught teachers at Sierra Charter School how to take defensive steps to create space and time between a gunman and his intended targets.

Mindy Bendoski said, "He was saying to be aware of all the different exits just in case the normal exit you use is blocked and all the different exit routes you can use when you're trying to get all the kids out of the room so everyone can get to the same spot."

He also talked about the best places to be seen by others in an emergency, and the most likely locations to find help. But the most important piece of information one teacher told me she took away, is crafting a simple safety plan and practicing it with her students.

"Lots of schools have this 100 page safety plan, but when you're in an unfortunate situation you don't have time to refer to these manuals," Karalyn Stairs said. "It needs to be a short and sweet thing that everyone knows what to do."

Knowledge they say every teacher should have in their arsenal, when it comes to keeping students safe.

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