GREENVILLE, Ohio (CBS News) — A group that keeps track of school shootings in America says there have been 240 since 2013, about one a week, including one last week, at a high school near Spokane, Washington. Some teachers believe the answer is arm themselves. Others strongly disagree.
An elementary school principal is one of more than a thousand educators from 12 states to take a three-day firearms course in rural Ohio, called “Faster Saves Lives.”
He says hitting these targets is preparation for protecting his students.
“When I walk down the halls I actually think about where I would go, how would I react,” says an elementary school principal.
“Remember you left something in your van, so you’re gonna over to your van and get it, and you’re gonna go back in the school, which is right over there,” says instructor.
Most here asked for their identities to be protected, including a middle school teacher. She keeps her 9 millimeter handgun on her during class.
Do you have the mindset to actually shoot a shooter and what if it’s one of your students? “Yes, you have to know the important thing is to eliminate the threat, and to do that at all costs,” says a middle school teacher.
Instructors test participants on taking down a gunman and treating wounds.
“Someone is hurt over here,” says a teacher.
Funded by a pro-gun group and donations, the training is free and began after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School nearly five years ago.
“I am a second grade teacher at the Sandy Hook School,” says Abbey Clements.
Abbey Clements’ 19 students survived, and now she is one of a dozen Newtown teachers fighting to keep guns out of classrooms.
“Never in a million years would I have guessed that one response to what happened in our town would be to arm teachers. It’s absurd. God could you imagine if children were hurt by you in that situation? How would you live with yourself,” says Clements.
In fact we saw just that scenario play out in this simulated classroom.
During this training I saw one person/shoot what would have been a student in a scenario. When you see that does it make you second guess this choice to have those guns in schools? “No. It’s one of those things where it’s an accident, we might take one, but we might have saved 30-40 other kids,” says an elementary school principal.
In most school districts, carrying a gun is optional. Some parents don’t know their child’s teacher is armed, but other’s do.
And for parents who might support this idea if you could speak to one, what would you say? “I would say that I understand that you’re afraid. I’m afraid too. We have a problem with gun violence in this country, but more guns is not the answer,” says Clements.