While many parts of the country are focusing on increasing teacher standards and giving kids a better shot at an education, at least one is educating teachers — on getting a better shot at students. This fall, dozens of school staff members will be sent out into Missouri schools as armed security trained by a company called “Shield Solutions.” Technically, they’ll remain anonymous, like air marshals on an airplane — though we bet you can probably spot them by the pants bulge and their yellow “Don’t Tread on Me” bumper stickers.
The Kansas City Star (video at the bottom) has reported that at least ten districts have already paid $17,500 a piece to have two staffers go through the Shield Services training program. According to one trainee, the logic (such as it is) is that their districts are a half hour or more from law enforcement response, and that something has to be done to protect the children.
All are prepared to shoot their own students if necessary.
The staff members will receive extra pay for being the school’s safety marshals, which they’re happy about. But not all school administrators think this is the best idea. Eudora High School Principal G.A. Buie:
“We would be asking school officials, trained as educators, to make a quick transition from teacher to SWAT member, arrive on the scene, assess the situation, overcome the severe nervousness that naturally accompanies a deadly force incident and take immediate action before blood is shed. It’s a bit more than you can cover in a typical teacher in-service.
Hey, G.A…not to worry. These fellas are highly trained security personnel who have been through an intensive training course. In fact, Shield Solutions founder and former Missouri Highway Patrolman Greg Martin promises that no trainee graduates with less than a 90 percent accuracy rating in target practice.
They also avow that Second Amendment School will never — never — use high-powered plus-P rounds likely to over-penetrate and kill the person behind the one the teacher is shooting at. Take that to the bank.
“But, wait,” you may be saying. “What if they shoot the wrong person? What if they shoot some kid reaching for his protractor? What if they make bad decisions in a stressful on-the-spot scenario, and end up killing a bunch of kids instead of the theoretical school shooter? Do they train these guys on target discrimination, and how to react in real-world threat scenarios?”
You might have heard of the “Box Drill” used by Navy SEAL trainers; it’s designed to teach recruits to conquer fear, aggression and adrenaline, and make good decisions in combat scenarios. This drill, repeated for weeks and months on end, starts with a black box placed over the recruit’s head. The recruit enters the session after a night deprived of sleep, and a day spent doing punishing physical training. The trainer yanks the box off, and the mentally and physically exhausted recruit must decide immediately whether the person in front of them is a hostile, or just asking for directions. SEALS repeat this drill for months, pounding target discrimination and quick, calculated decision-making into the trainee’s head.
The Army uses a similar drill in its urban combat training, and many police and SWAT forces spend months or years constantly training officers on who not to shoot, and when. It’s a vital part of any security officer’s training — especially in areas where conflicts are likely to take place indoors, around civilians. This kind of training is critical — no sane military or police agency would send armed personnel into combat without it.
And…Shield Services doesn’t do any of that.
Instead, trainees are sent through a grueling, 16-hour course stretched over five days. The course itself involves shooting at stationary black targets (which are bad) and not hitting the white targets in front of them. Participants are free to bring their own hoodies to place on the black targets, for that extra bit of realism. And what does all this excellence in training cost?
For anyone else interested in protecting the children from black targets in standing perfectly still in a field: Shield offers the 16-hour School Training Course for $175…minimum group of ten. (Interesting, since that’s exactly 1/100th of what Missouri says it paid for training per staffer.) Draw Stroke training standard, hat with brim optional equipment. Attendees get a $25 discount and a coupon for Applebees if they sign up on Wednesdays. We made that last part up.
So, fear not, children of Missouri! You may die stupid, but at least you’ll get shot by the best marksmen a 16-hour training course can provide.
With 90 percent accuracy, of course.