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Teacher organizations don't support Gov. Abbott's active shooter training plan

Education Austin President Ken Zarifis said in the past, active shooter drills have caused some issues at Austin ISD.

AUSTIN, Texas — In a letter written on Monday, Gov. Greg Abbott requested the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training, also known as ALERRT, to bring its active shooter training program to all Texas school districts. Some of the classes ALERRT teaches include isolating and distracting an active shooter.

Though we don't know yet which classes will be offered to schools and who exactly will be getting this training, law enforcement officers have traditionally received this 16-hour training.

"We want to know what active shooter training means. We want to understand it more clearly,” said Ken Zarifis, president of Education Austin, the teachers' union for Austin ISD. 

He said Education Austin wants to see three changes to gun laws in Texas: a ban on assault weapons, red flag laws that keep guns out of the hands of potentially dangerous people and raising the age to buy guns to 21.

"The Second Amendment is not an absolute 100% right," said Zarifis. "All rights have conditions to them. Freedom of speech has conditions to them."

Zarifis said in the past, active shooter drills have caused some issues at Austin ISD. 

"The teacher and the kids didn't necessarily know that it was a drill, and it was traumatizing," he said.

In his letter, Gov. Abbott said the training will help law enforcement on school campuses better respond to active shooter situations.

President of the Texas American Federation of Teachers Zeph Capo said expecting active shooter training at schools before the next school year begins doesn't make sense. 

"Most kids are out of school," he said. "You're on a skeleton staff in the summer."

He suggests school safety audits. 

"Evaluate what kinds of locks are on doors. Are there breakaway locks so that the doors can be locked on the outside?" he said.

KVUE reached out to the office of ALERRT and it declined to speak.


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