PANAMA CITY, Fla. — “Get down on your knees!”
It’s not something a teacher ordinarily would shout during a summer training program, but this is no ordinary program.
This teacher was participating in active shooter response training under Florida’s revamped Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program at Southport Elementary School near Panama City.
She and other teachers were taught to tread cautiously down a hallway and peer into classrooms, which were empty save for role players — one of whom was posing as an active shooter.
Their job: Make threat assessments of each classroom while looking for the “shooter.”
She found him within seconds. Per her training, she stayed in the hall, pointed her Glock handgun at the “assailant” and ordered him to his knees. He complied and the whistle blew, ending the 30-second exercise.
The teacher later would face more challenging scenarios, with loud .38-caliber fake ammunition firing. She would fire back with fake ammunition of her own.
Her first run was met with applause from seasoned trainers from the Bay County Sheriff’s Office.
“It’s been an amazing experience,” said the teacher, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “We’ve definitely learned a lot.”
The original guardian program, created in March 2018 under the state’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, allowed administrators and other staff, including coaches and teachers, with military or law enforcement experience to volunteer as armed, concealed carry guardians.