‘Fight back’ program against active shooters gains traction in Utah charter schools

Apr 13, 2018, 10:47 PM | Updated: Apr 14, 2018, 12:55 am

NIBLEY, UTAH — While efforts to arm teachers have been no stranger to headlines in recent years, a far broader, “fight back” approach to school safety now appears to be gaining traction among the state’s charter schools.

The Utah Association of Public Charter Schools recently brought on YouTactical founder, Dave Acosta to conduct training sessions around the state, centered around a program that teaches educators to, among other things, defend their students from active shooters with their bare hands.

“We said, look, here’s an opportunity for us to take a real expert with Dave Acosta and bring him into the schools and talk in different ways about what schools can do today to improve the school safety for their students,” said UAPCS executive director Royce Van Tassell. “As an association, we’re not going to take a position on what the right solution is. Every school is a little bit different, and that’s one of the things that makes Dave a great partner. He provides a variety of options depending on what works.”

Friday, roughly two dozen administrators and teachers gathered at Thomas Edison Charter Schools South, in Nibley, to learn from Acosta.

“How many people can a bad guy shoot in 5 minutes if nobody interferes?” Acosta asked the group. “If nobody interferes, it’s a lot of people. Let me just say that.”

The educators also watched and practiced techniques to disarm would-be active shooters in scenarios that featured handguns and AR-15 rifles.

“I think that it gives us the upper hand,” said Shem Smith, principal of Thomas Edison North. “I think that’s really what will keep (students) safe.”

Among the attendees was Utah State Board of Education member Terryl Warner, who represents District 1.

“About a month-and-a-half ago, Rep. (Mike) Kennedy, (R-Alpine), created the Utah School Safety Commission and one of the things that we’re looking at is some sort of run-hide-fight-type program for students and educators and paraprofessionals and administrators, so I think this is really an excellent program,” said Warner, who sits on the commission. “I think it needs to be left up to a local decision-making process with a local board. Obviously Thomas Edison was really interested in it and they chose to proceed with this, but I think it’s something that we could see. We’ve got to look at doing a number of things.”

Whether public school districts ever adopt a program like Acosta’s remains uncertain.

Acosta said all schools should consider the training.

“We need to change or shift the culture,” he said. “Do something. It’s that simple.”

Van Tassell said other regional training sessions have taken place in or are planned at other locations at both ends of the state, and have been made possible by a grant that allows the association to provide training on a regular basis.

“Charter schools are usually a little bit smaller and therefore a little bit more nimble,” Van Tassell said. “I think that’s why we’ve been able to pull this together so quickly. Our hope, though, is that all of public education is able to address these pressing issues.”

Related: Utah charter schools buying in on active shooter training for teachers, security consultant says

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

A semi-truck hauling over 200 beehives tipped on Interstate 80 on Monday. (KSL TV)...
Brittany Tait, KSL TV

Wasatch Beekeepers Association rescues millions of bees after I-80 crash

Roughly 24 million honey bees spilled out of a tipped semi-truck on Interstate 80, earlier this week.  
14 hours ago
A look from Chopper 5 shows just how dry feuls are along the Wasatch Front. (KSL TV)...
Mike Anderson, KSL TV

Chopper 5 shows why firefighters are on high alert for 4th of July weekend

With plenty of dry brush fireworks, and possible thunderstorms, much of the Wasatch Front is primed with the potential for wildfires.
14 hours ago
Zane James...
Madison Swenson

$4 million settlement reached in officer-involved shooting of Zane James

A Utah family has reached a $4 million settlement with the city of Cottonwood Heights in relation to the shooting of their 19-year-old son by a city police officer.
2 days ago
Madison Swenson

8-year-old boy hit by car while riding scooter in Riverton

An 8-year-old boy was rushed to the hospital Friday after he was struck by a car in Riverton.
2 days ago
Mike Anderson

Study aims to balance growth, preservation around Bear Lake

Bear Lake brings nearly $50 million into the Northern Utah economy each year, all while it continues to serve as a major water source. A new study is taking a close look at those impacts on Rich County.
2 days ago
Dan Spindle, KSL TV

AAA Gas calculator shows cost for your holiday road trip

Millions of Americans are planning to travel this Independence Day weekend despite record-high gas prices.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
‘Fight back’ program against active shooters gains traction in Utah charter schools