BURLESON, Texas – A suburban Fort Worth school district has halted a program teaching students to attack a gunman if he invades a classroom, administrators said Wednesday.
The district will continue to train students in how to respond to life-threatening situations but no longer will show them how to take down an attacker, spokesman Richard Crummel said.
Robin Browne, an instructor for Response Options, the security company that provided the training, had recommended that students and teachers "react immediately to the sight of a gun by picking up anything and everything and throwing it at the head and body of the attacker and making as much noise as possible. Go toward him as fast as we can and bring them down."
Teachers in all 11 schools in the district in Burleson, a working-class suburb with about 26,000 residents, have received the fight-back training over the past 18 months, as have students at one elementary school and the high school.
Crummel said the district didn't know about that aspect until the training had been completed.
"That was not something we believe in and not something we supported," he said.
Browne, however, said district officials have known of the "active response" component since training began. Crummel and Burleson High School principal Paul Cash were even present for a live demonstration of the training for a TV news show, Browne wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press.
Browne also wrote that he considers his company's training "without the active response aspect to be dangerous and liable to lead to multiple casualties." Response Options is withdrawing from its agreement to train Burleson teachers and students and is "handing the matter over to its attorneys for resolution," he wrote.
The district has paid Response Options about $2,500, Browne said.
The district sent letters to parents Friday expressing regret for the training and saying the district "does not, nor will we support teaching our students to attack an intruder."
Burleson officials fielded calls from parents, law enforcement officials and other school districts after the policy made national news earlier this month. Some people expressed fear it would get children killed.
"On a national level, people are calling in and saying, 'Bravo,' for at least looking at other options," Crummel said. "On a local level, people are concerned about one thing: how it affects their children."