As part of National Train a Teacher Day, on Saturday educators from across the country will receive free training on how to shoot and handle a firearm.
In Alaska, the free training is offered by a sole business in Palmer, Point Blank Firearms and Self Defense Training. However, Point Blank owner, Donna Anthony, said no Alaska teachers have signed up for the free training. During last year’s Train a Teacher Day, she offered the free training to eight educators.
This is the second year of the event, which is sponsored by the United States Concealed Carry Association and TASER. The event’s website said the idea behind the day is “to work together to empower the people that educate our children.”
The event is taking place in 42 states.
Anthony has worked in law enforcement in Alaska for over 20 years. She said Alaska’s rural schools can be vulnerable to active shooters, but they don’t have to be.
“Alaska is unique,” she said. “We have cities and we also have very rural areas. In more remote areas, law enforcement won’t get to (schools). Give employees a plan to better protect our schools.”
She said that plan doesn’t necessarily entail arming every teacher. She says she’s supportive of trying to provide tools for teachers.
The eight teachers trained by Anthony told her they were frustrated with current policies and procedures, hoping for more training and improved legislation, when it came to safeguarding their classrooms, Anthony said. She said she’d also like to see better legislation in Alaska.
Anthony said several states have adopted legislation that elects specific teachers or staff to act as a “school marshal.” The teacher or staff member would be offered training and be permitted to carry a gun on campus. In February of last year, Kentucky passed a similar bill.
“It’s similar to a U.S. Marshal program, where one volunteer takes the position of carrying and no one knows about it, but the principal and district,” Anthony said.
The teacher or staff member would be a volunteer.
“No one is pushed into something they’re not comfortable with,” she said.
Anthony said Point Blank is looking to expand their scope and provide those tools to teachers across the state, not just in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.
Anthony said educators, or anyone in the public who interested, can access Point Blank’s online training, which focuses on training and handling an active shooter in the workplace.