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APS to train students to protect themselves from school shooters

Atlanta Public Schools is developing training to teach students how to respond and protect themselves if there is a school shooting.

The training will teach students what to do if they are surprised by an attacker, how to respond, and how to use items in the classroom to protect and defend themselves. Superintendent Meria Carstarphen said the district began developing the training after learning more details about recent school shootings in which students were “left open and vulnerable” or without a teacher or staff member in the classroom. 

“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,” said Carstarphen, at a news conference Monday in which she discussed a variety of topics, including school safety. 

Carstarphen said the district must strike a balance between preparing students for a possible threat and scaring them. 

APS plans to implement the training next school year. The lessons will be customized for the age of the student. The training will be done in addition to other safety drills that students and the district’s police department already do. 

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Carstarphen said the district does not plan to arm teachers, and instead will continue to rely on its own police force

“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. 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,” she said.

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