Blog: Local teachers learn to be 'First Responders'

7:51 PM, Feb 24, 2013   |    comments
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Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's "Active Shooter Training for Educators" will be held in the Cleveland area all-day Monday in Valley View.

The first training was held Jan. 17, less than a month after DeWine announced the creation of the training courses on Dec. 19. And that was only five days after the school shootings in Newtown, CT.

That's when Adam Lanza, 20, fatally shot twenty children and six adult staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in the village of Sandy Hook.

As law enforcement First Responders arrived, he committed suicide by shooting himself in the head. Sandy Hook teachers and staff tried to stop Lanza but were killed themselves.

Sandy Hook is the second deadliest shooting in U.S. history, after the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre. It is the second-deadliest mass murder at an American elementary school, after the 1927 Bath School bombings in Michigan.

We all remember the two shooters at Columbine High School in Colorado and, since Cleveland's SuccessTech alternative school is located across the street from the Channel 3 newsroom, not a day goes by that I don't recall the Oct. 10, 2007 school shooting there.

SuccessTech's shootings began just after 1 p.m. after student Michael Peek, 14, punched Asa Coon, 14, in the face for bumping into him. When Peek walked away, Coon shot him in the abdomen.

Darnell Rodgers, 17, suffered a graze gunshot wound to the elbow in the same hallway. Michael Grassie, a social studies teacher, was shot in the chest after Coon entered his classroom. A second teacher, David Kachadourian, was shot in the back of his shoulder while in a hallway evacuating his students to safety.

It ended when Coon fatally shot himself in the head. Grassie has not returned to teaching.

In all of the cases, all the teachers were trying to do was save their students. Teachers have always gotten trained in how to teach and they are required to take ongoing courses to keep their teaching certificates.

Now our teachers will be given free, certified training on how to protect, as our teachers are now recognized as our "First Responders" in school shootings.

Know that this AG's office training is in partnership with the Attorney General's Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy and the Ohio Department of Education.

It will, and I quote DeWine, "provide educators with insight on how to identify the actions of active shooters before they commit their crimes. The course will also include training on how to respond in a school shooting situation."

The courses do not include firearm training. Having police officers with guns in schools or arming teachers is a whole different issue and soon to be a topic in an upcoming blog.

DeWine said "We need to adopt a holistic approach to help our educators and administrators, and I will continue my office's work on this issue because we simply must do all we can to ensure the safety of our kids."

"As close as law enforcement might be to a school, it is clear that educators and administrators are the first responders to keep kids safe if there is a shooter."

I think that any training for something like this is good and it may help prevent incidents or at least reduce or eliminate fatalities.

I don't have the answer but Sandy Hook set a lot more things into motion than just training for teachers.

We have a national gun control debate that shows no sign of lessening, more and more people are getting conceal carry permits, guns and ammunition that may be "outlawed" are fetching nearly double their prices at gun shows and some schools have already or are considering putting armed guards in schools.

The bottom line?

Guns have to be kept out of the hands of the wrong people, like criminals and people with mental health problems. Sounds simple, doesn't it? Easier said than done so, until someone comes up with the answer, we do what we can.

And I'm not forgetting the students in all of this. I remember when the biggest hurdle we faced going to school was the next pop quiz or if our geometry homework was correct or if the handsome boy in the school play really liked me or not.

Times have really changed and children are exposed to more and more violence as they are growing up. So, how about more training for school counselors year-round specifically for students' fears about incidents like these, not just right after an incident occurs?

Just a thought.


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