One of Georgia’s largest school systems is working to develop training to teach students how to protect themselves during a school shooting.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Atlanta Public Schools envisions that such training will teach students what to do if they’re surprised by an attacker. It will also teach them how to respond — and how to use items in the classroom to defend themselves, school officials said.
The district began developing the training after learning more details about recent school shootings in which students were left vulnerable or without a teacher in the classroom, Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Meria Carstarphen said.
“In some of the cases, the shooters have assault weapons that can carry so many bullets and can really do a lot of damage. We know that we’re going to have to help students understand how they can protect themselves better,” Carstarphen said at a recent news conference.
Carstarphen said the district must strike a balance between preparing students for a possible threat and scaring them.
The district plans to implement the training next school year. Lessons will be customized for the age of the student, and the training will be done in addition to other safety drills that students and the district’s police department already do, the newspaper reported.
The school district does not plan to arm its teachers, and instead will continue to rely on police officers, the superintendent said.
Earlier this month, the Fannin County School Board near the Tennessee line unanimously approved a policy to allow some teachers to carry guns that are holstered.
In April, the Laurens County school board in central Georgia approved a policy allowing select staff to carry guns on school property, in vehicles and at school functions.
“It’s becoming more and more challenging with every year and every tragedy that we read about, but we want our kids and our staff to be prepared,” Carstarphen said. “And, there are things that they can do, even if they aren’t police officers, just to make themselves a little more safe, and any tool that we can give them we want to be able to do that.”