New Mexico teachers are training to take on active shooters with their bare hands, high-tech pepper spray, and strobe lights. The teachers say they want to make themselves safe in an active shooter situation following the attack in Parkland, Florida.
Following the shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 students and teachers dead, teachers in New Mexico are taking matters into their own hands–literally. Teachers from Albuquerque and Rio Rancho, New Mexico, joined together in a self-defense workshop on Sunday, KRQE News reported. The teachers received training on how to defend themselves by using hand-t0-hand combat, high-tech pepper spray, and a strobe light device.
One of the devices, the Tiger Light Defense Alert Device, provides the teacher with multiple self-defense options that can be employed in the event of an attack.
“I can spray them I can hit them, there is a lot I can do with it,” Assistant Principal Deb Moya said.
The device employs pepper spray and a bright strobe light to temporarily distract an attacker. It can also be used to enhance punching power when carried in the teacher’s fist. The high-tech device also sends out an emergency alert via a smartphone app. However, Albuquerque Public School (APS) policy prohibits teachers from carrying pepper spray.
The training program is being carried out in a dance studio owned by Rio Rancho teacher Christina Daly. She told the local news outlet she wants to replace teachers’ fear with confidence.
“I was literally afraid to go to work and I was having nightmares,” Daly told the Albququerque Journal. “I was afraid for my students because I want to be able to protect them.”
One of the instructors, Rio Rancho police officer Gloria Marcott, provided instruction in how to punch and other self-defense techniques for escaping a chokehold or defending against a knife attack.
“We’ve gotta get from thinking I’m going to be OK to knowing I’m going to be OK,” Marcott told the class of teachers.
Following the self-defense training, area police officers and sheriff’s deputies provided active shooter training.
New Mexico law does not allow teachers to carry concealed firearms in schools. However, the state does allow for armed “security guards.”
A local security guard and self-defense training company is raising money to help teachers become certified security guards in an effort to work around the state’s laws against teachers being armed.
3D Security Training Solutions is also working with other groups to provide firearms and ammunition to the teachers at no cost, KOB4 reported.
School districts have individual policies regarding armed security guards in schools. APS currently prohibits armed security guards from working in schools.
Albuquerque Teachers Federation President Ellen Bernstein does not appear to favor the idea of teachers being able to defend themselves and their students with firearms.
“There are so many false assumptions in the false answer of arming teachers — the false assumption we want guns, the false assumption that more guns is more safe,” she told the local news outlet.