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OREM — The topic of training and arming teachers has been discussed for years with strong divisions among politicians and educators alike, but after the latest school shooting in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14, one Utah security consultant hopes more districts will listen to perspectives like his.
“I think having a plan and some physical training is a huge deterrent — huge deterrent,” said David Acosta, founder of YouTactical. “That’s why I think people need to get on board.”
Acosta, who has trained SWAT teams, personal security teams and military contractors around the world, developed an active shooter response program he now shares with businesses, schools and individual teachers.
He said school districts have remained hesitant to adopt training that instructs teachers to engage and stop active shooters, but he said that isn’t the case with all schools.
“The charter schools, they call me,” Acosta said. “Those guys don’t even mess around. I am booked for two months out. The charter schools call me, and they’re like, ‘We’re ready.’ They sign a check. They want this done!”
Acosta hosted nine teachers Thursday evening at Ready Gunner in Orem.
Not only did he train the mix of public and charter school teachers in basic shooting skills, Acosta also showed them how to target someone wearing body armor and how to aim and shoot from the ground and around a desk.
“You’re going to move the kids to the best position and you’re going to take a position so you can ambush the shooter coming through,” he explained of one scenario he presents to the teachers.
Acosta said the training extends beyond guns. “This is the smallest part of what we do,” he said. “Mainly we teach teachers how to fight back physically, even if they’re unarmed.”
Acosta noted it’s ultimately an individual teacher’s choice whether to train and carry a concealed gun, but he said he was hopeful more school districts would follow in the footsteps of their charter school counterparts.