Mansfield ISD teachers undergo crisis training before start of school

For teachers in Mansfield ISD, part of preparing for back to school now involves special training in the event of a crisis.

The new orientation involved training for an active shooter situation. Some of the training also involved pepper spray.

It's the new reality of how teachers prepare for the first day of class by learning how to use pepper spray. In an active shooter situation, it could be a last line of defense.

"Unfortunately, this is the society that we live in,” said Vanessa Vasquez, a middle school teacher in Mansfield ISD. “So we have to be prepared for worst case scenarios and protect our babies."

Mansfield ISD is among the districts that have decided not to arm teachers.

"My husband and I do have handguns and go to the range, but I would not feel comfortable bringing a handgun to school around my students or using it in such a manner,” said Johnna Johnson, a middle school teacher in Mansfield ISD. “My gift is teaching. That's what I want to do — let them do their gift."

Mansfield ISD police are ramping up to put officers in every school. Between new hires and contracting with other law enforcement, the department is adding 20 more officers.

"Our goal this year is there will never be a campus that won't have an officer there at least a half the day,” said Mansfield ISD Police Chief Jimmy Womack.

After the Santa Fe school shooting, the governor developed a safety action plan. As part of that, Mansfield classroom doors will now remain locked during school. The safety plan includes a standard response protocol for first responders, teachers and students.

"They're like, ‘It won't happen here.’ That's why we have those serious talks,” Johnson said. “We don't know what's going on. Someone may be having a bad day and snap. We pray it doesn't happen but need to be prepared in case it does and know what steps to take."

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